An incendiary balloon, which police believe was launched from the Gaza Strip, landed on Monday evening in Be’er Sheva, raising fears that terrorists are increasing the range of the devices that have caused numerous fires in Israeli border communities.
Police sappers were called to the Ringelblum Street in the Negev desert’s largest city to remove the balloon.
Police forces also closed the road off to traffic and distanced passersby. The road was reopened shortly after.
“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,” a police statement said.
“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 suddenly 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. It is the fear of God,” one witness said.
Throughout the day, firefighters worked to extinguish fires that erupted in Israel Gaza border communities as a result of incendiary balloons flown from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
In total, five fires were extinguished by the firefighters in the Eshkol Regional Council while another fire broke out in the Dorot Forest in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council.