A suspicious balloon cluster was located on Shabbat in a neighborhood in Sderot near the Gaza Strip border. Police arrived at the scene and a police sapper dismantled an explosive charge that was attached to the cluster. No one was injured.

Earlier on Shabbat, another cluster of balloons from the Gaza Strip carrying explosives was documented.

Advertisement



On Friday, more balloons carrying an explosive device were found on the Ashdod coastline, having been sent from the Gaza Strip. Police sappers handled the explosives that were attached to those balloons which landed on the beach. Police patrols closed off the city’s beaches to prevent danger to the public until the sappers had completed their work.

Israeli media report that the balloons flown from Gaza this weekend belong to a new and much more advanced generation compared with the incendiary balloons were burning fields in the Gaza envelope communities over the summer. These new balloons carry more sophisticated explosives as well as shrapnel designed to maximize the range and severity of injuries to Israeli civilians.

Balloon cluster with explosives captured in Eshkol Regional Council. / Police Spokesperson

Ashdod sustained Friday’s balloons attack some 24 hours after a cluster of explosive balloons had been found in the Eshkol Regional Council outside Gaza. In response to that balloon attack, the IDF retaliated against Hamas infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip Thursday evening. The attack, carried out by an IDF combat helicopter, targeted infrastructure used for Hamas below ground activities in the Strip.

Hamas sources are claiming that the new balloon attacks are the work of Islamic Jihad terrorists who were loyal to Bahaa Abu el-Atta, whom the IDF assassinated on November 12, 2019. But considering the sheer proliferation of these attacks since Thursday, these Hamas shirking of their responsibility will likely be challenged by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett (Likud).

Related story (Jan. 17, 2019):

IDF Targets Terror Positions in Response to IED Balloon Attacks

Advertisement