Explosive balloons from Gaza return to haunt Israel’s south

“We won’t let Hamas terrorize Israeli civilians,” the IDF stated.

By TPS and World Israel News Staff 

Israel’s south has returned to contending with the threat of explosive charges tied to balloons launched by terrorists from the Gaza Strip which have landed in various cities in Israel.

Several such attacks occurred in recent days, including on Saturday when terrorists launched several balloon batches attached to explosive charges, some landing in the cities of Sderot and Ashdod while others exploded en route to Israel.

Police sappers were alerted to neutralize several of the bombs.

No one was injured in any of the incidents and no damage was caused.

On Thursday afternoon, an IDF attack helicopter struck underground Hamas infrastructure in the Strip in response to the balloon attacks.

“We won’t let Hamas terrorize Israeli civilians,” the IDF stated.

Arab reports say that the balloons launched by terrorists from Gaza are fixed with a stronger incendiary mixture than the incendiary balloons previously launched toward Israel.

Similarly, the explosive devices are “upgraded” and are equipped with elements to increase casualties among the civilian population, the sources say.

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The police have reissued directives on how to act when finding balloons tied to an explosive charge.

“Exploding airborne devices have been making their presence known up and down the border today, rattling windows and nerves,” activist Adele Raemer, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim, located near the Gazan border, posted on Facebook on Saturday.

“We heard one a few hours ago, sending parents checking up on where, and how, their kids are,” Raemer wrote.

“And now, a playground in Sderot has been cordoned off, after one of them landed there. Where are the international voices speaking up about these infringements of the Geneva Conventions forbidding randomly targeting civilian populations?” she questioned.

The IDF estimates that the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is responsible for the rocket fire and the renewed explosive balloons attacks. Nevertheless, Israel has repeatedly stated that it views Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since June 2007, as bearing responsibility for any violence from the coastal enclave.

These attacks have returned to haunt Israel’s residents in the south after several months in which such attacks from Gaza had more or less ceased.

In recent years, terrorist organizations have shifted their tactics and have begun launching incendiary devices such as arson balloons and kites to wreak havoc on the communities in the Gaza area as well as the environment and ecological system.

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The airborne incendiary devices have ignited more than 2,155 fires between March 2018 and August 2019 and have burned more than 8,750 acres of land, including farmland, forests and nature reserves, according to official figures.

The damage is estimated at $35 million, with $15 million directly caused by the fires.

In a late development, a balloon bomb blast was reported Sunday in Sderot.

“According to preliminary reports on social media, the explosive device launched from Gaza went off above a house, causing no casualties,” reported i24News.

Palestinian media are reporting that the IDF fired at a terror target in the Gaza Strip in apparent retaliation.