Photo Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson
Balloon cluster with explosives captured in Eshkol Regional Council.

Gaza terrorists this week again began to escalate balloon bombing and arson attacks on southern Israel, launching increasing numbers of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attached to colorful clusters of balloons they have sent flying across the border towards southern Israeli communities.

Early Saturday morning, an IED was discovered attached to a cluster of balloons in a field near Kibbutz Nir Oz along the Gaza border. Israeli security personnel and police sappers were summoned to the site to neutralize the explosives while residents were prevented from reaching the area.

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There were no injuries, and no property damage was reported.

“A suspicious object attached to a group of balloons was located in an agricultural area of the town, a police sapper and security staff were dispatched to the site to neutralize the device,” the Eshkol Regional Council said in a statement. “We would like to recall that during such incidents, it is strictly forbidden to approach the suspicious object, and it is imperative to alert the security personnel.”

Qatar has not transferred over any payments to Gaza over the past few days, which may be the impetus for the upswing in balloon attacks.

Earlier in the week, at least 13 wildfires broke out across southern Israel due to the increasing number of IED balloons that were launched from Gaza at Israel.

Several wildfires broke out Thursday in Eshkol and in the Ashkelon Coast region. One fire broke out in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district on Friday.

On Thursday, an IED balloon flew as far as Arad, some 87 kilometers (54 miles) from Gaza. Police sappers safely neutralized the bomb attached to the balloon cluster, which landed in the city’s industrial area, about 20 minutes west of the southern section of the Dead Sea.

At the start of the week, Gaza terrorists had also launched a rocket attack from the enclave at southern Israel.

The IDF finally attacked Hamas subterranean positions in Gaza late Thursday night in response to the increasing attacks on Israel. No injuries were reported.

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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.