Israel

For First Time, Arson Balloon Lands in Be’er Sheva, Raises Concerns of Increased Terror

An arson balloon landed in the major southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva for the first time on Monday evening, raising fears that the range of terror devices employed by Palestinian terrorists, which have caused numerous fires in Israeli border communities, is increasing.

Police believe the balloon was launched from the Gaza Strip. It would be the farthest distance that an incendiary device has travelled with the city located about 25 miles from the coastal enclave, which is under complete political and military control of the terrorist group Hamas.

Ynet reported that police sappers were called to the Ringelblum Street in the Negev desert’s largest city to defuse the incendiary device.

“It was a balloon that had a suspicious object attached to it. In the majority of cases it relates to an incendiary device, and every object like this must be treated as suspicious with a high-risk capacity,” the police said in a statement.

“In these sorts of cases, the police emergency line 100 must be dialed and you must move away from the area until the conclusion of the police sappers’ activities,” it added.

One eyewitness described how police arrived at the scene: “We saw loads of police cars. We didn’t realize what had happened. Then we realized that there was an incendiary balloon.”

The Times of Israel reported Tuesday that firefighters were battling seven blazes since the morning sparked by terror balloons and kites launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel.

A spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Services Southern District said the fires broke out at the agricultural communities of Nir Am, Tlamim, Erez, Holit, Shokeda and Kissufim. The official also confirmed that firefighters are still working to extinguish a pair of blazes at Kissufim and the fire at Nir Am.

Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched hundreds of flammable devices into Israeli territory, starting hundreds of fires, according to authorities. Thousands of acres of agricultural fields, forests and grasslands have been burned, causing millions worth of damage, officials said.

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