The suspicious balloon that landed near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, September 16th, 2018.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
A balloon suspected to have an incendiary device attached to it was found in the Beit Horon settlement in the West Bank on Sunday morning.
Border Police bomb disposal experts took the balloon, which had Arabic writing printed on it, for examination and patrolled the area. There was no damage caused in the incident, police said.
Also Sunday, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund reported two fires were caused in the Be’eri forest as a result of an incendiary balloon. Firefighters gained control over the fires.
Police called on the public to act with caution around suspicious kites or balloons that could contain explosive or inflammatory materials.
Palestinians in Gaza began the phenomenon of sending incendiary balloons and kites into Israel in March, causing widespread fires and serious damage to Israeli land close to the Gaza border.
Incidents of this kind are rare in the West Bank and the balloon in Beit Horon is unlikely to have come from Gaza, given the settlement’s distance from the area.
Police have responded in the last few months to hundreds of suspicious balloons that have landed in the south. In recent weeks, there have been fewer reports of incendiary kites and balloons as talks of a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza were in the works, though they appear to have stalled recently.
On Saturday, an incendiary balloon landed in the yard of the home of Knesset Member Haim Jelin [Yesh Atid] in Kibbutz Be’eri.
“They [the Palestinians] are still at it, we had two fires yesterday as well,” Jelin said in a statement. “There is no agreement and there is nobody in the cabinet that speaks Arabic and can understand them.”
The MK’s comments about Arabic present a jab at Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman who coined the slogan, “Only Liberman speaks Arabic” in his 2009 campaign.
“I am not worried that a balloon landed in my yard,” said Jelin, “I am worried that the cabinet does not have a clear policy when dealing with terror.”Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.