A police bomb squad detonated a barrel containing a large amount of explosives which washed up on Palmahim beach south of Rishon Lezion on Wednesday – the third barrel bomb found on Israel’s shores this week.
Security forces were alerted to the bomb when a member of the public contacted Rishon Lezion police shortly after noon to report a “suspicious item,” or suspected bomb. A bomb squad was called in, and police sealed off the entire beach.
A police helicopter was mobilized to search for additional explosives.
After several hours, the bomb was detonated by police in a controlled explosion.
The incident comes two days after two barrels containing explosive devices washed ashore on beaches in Ashkelon and Ashdod Monday.
“We recommend that members of the public do not go near beaches until at least Friday,” said Rishon Lezion police chief Dep.-Cmdr. Alon Aryeh.
“The strong winds could result in more of these devices being washed up,” he added.
“We received a call from a member of the public at noon. We are already on an increased level of alert, with more forces patrolling the beach, and we deployed officers and a bomb disposal team to the scene.” Aryeh said.
Channel Two broadcast images from Gaza on Wednesday showing the barrel bombs being prepared. At least six devices could be seen in the footage, though Palestinian terror groups have claimed that as many as eight have been released into the water.
On Monday, Abu Saed, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza faction with close ties to Hamas, said Monday’s attempted attack was meant to avenge the killing last month of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh. Hamas has blamed Mossad agents for Mabhouh’s death, claiming that the Israeli agents ambushed him in his Dubai hotel room, immobilized him with an electrical shock and strangled him to death.
“We confirm that there are still many of these charges in the ocean, and they haven’t exploded yet,” Abu Saed said, standing alongside five other gunmen in military fatigues.
The IAF struck weapons smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor
in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning following the
discovery of the barrel bombs and the firing of a Kassam rocket from
Gaza at southern Israel.
“The IDF will continue to operate with determination and force against
those who use terror against Israel, and holds Hamas responsible [for
the attempted attack],” an army statement read.
AP contributed to this report.
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