Photo Credit: IDF UAV screen shot
Fire started by Hamas arson attack in southern Israel

It’s time once again to enlarge a map of Israel (perhaps on your computer desktop) and prepare a virtual container of colorful pushpins (again, “Google” variety).

This has been the week in which the Gaza terrorists and their flying explosives from Gaza have received a boost, courtesy of their cousins in the Palestinian Authority who have joined the party and are also now launching incendiary balloons across the border into Israel.

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By midday Thursday, one of the flying explosives attached to a bunch of the balloons had landed near Israel’s parliament building, the Knesset, where an innocent woman picked them up and brought them with her as she was on her way to a local stop, where she then called Israel Police.

Miraculously, this woman escaped injury, because this was exceedingly dangerous. Police sappers came immediately to take the balloons and sweep the area to ensure there were no other explosive surprises.

Likewise, police sappers were summoned to examine a device attached to an incendiary balloon that landed in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. Earlier in the day, firefighters battled a large blaze at the Shikma Stream in southern Israel. In fact it was so large, it required the activation of a foreign aid squad, with a fire brigade dispatched from the Ayalon station, and two fire fighters from the El’ad squad also dispatched to the scene, according to Eli Cohen, spokesperson for the southern region Israel Fire and Rescue Service.

Israel Police issued a statement reiterating the instructions to the public NOT to touch or even to approach any suspicious object, including balloons or kites (how sad is that, to have reached a point where children’s toys are now included in this list?!) which they note, “may contain flammable or explosive material. Anyone who finds such an object should report it to the police hotline (by dialing 100) and leave handling the device or object to the sappers.”

For those ready with their pushpins, here’s a quick review of the interesting places that incendiary balloons have landed so far this week:

Jerusalem on Emek Refaim Street in the German Colony neighborhood (main road), Gush Etzion (Wednesday night in the community of Rosh Tzurim for a second time where another fire was started, according to local security personnel), central Israel in Givat Ze’ev (just north of Jerusalem), in the Modi’in Regional Council District, close to the Modi’in Industrial Zone (on a highway) and as usual in southern Israel in the northwest Negev (Shokeda Forest), and along the Gaza border, in the Kissufim Forest, Moshav Ein HaBesor and elsewhere in Jewish communities where the flying bombs have been burning up Israeli farmland.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.