Incendiary balloons spark 22 fires in southern Israel

Consisting of volunteers and members from various authorities, teams spread out across various areas in southern Israel in order to contain the fires and prevent them from spreading to nearby towns.

Fire and Rescue Services working to put out fire in 22 different locations, August 21, 2020.  (photo credit: TZAFRIR NIR)
Fire and Rescue Services working to put out fire in 22 different locations, August 21, 2020.
(photo credit: TZAFRIR NIR)
Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires in Israeli towns surrounding the Gaza Strip, according to a statement by the Israel Fire and Rescue Services.
Consisting of volunteers and members from various authorities, teams spread out across various areas in southern Israel in order to contain the fires and prevent them from spreading to nearby towns.
 Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires, August 21, 2020. (Credit: Tzafrir Nir) Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires, August 21, 2020. (Credit: Tzafrir Nir)
The teams operating on Friday included members from the Fire and Rescue Services, the Jewish National Fund, the Nature and Parks Authority and the IDF.
Fires mostly broke out on fields consisting of dry weed, and most of them were relatively small, according to the statement.
Experts from the Fire and Rescue Services determined after examining the sites that all 22 fires were caused by incendiary balloons.
Earlier on Friday, a bundle of balloons with a suspicious item attached to it was located in Kiryat Gat's industrial area. During efforts by police sappers to neutralize the item, which turned out to be an explosive device, a nearby residential building was slightly damaged.
Later, another explosive device attached to balloons was located on a residential rooftop in Beersheba. Police said its personnel dismantled the device without causing any injuries.
The police released a statement on Friday, reminding the public to remain alert and immediately report any suspicious items they encounter.
 Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires, August 21, 2020. (Credit: Tzafrir Nir) Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires, August 21, 2020. (Credit: Tzafrir Nir)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi held a situation briefing on Friday morning regarding the situation, which has been escalating in recent weeks, with incendiary balloons causing fires nearly every day that interrupt the daily lives of the residents of southern Israel and damage agricultural fields, which constitute a major source of income for many locals. 
Tensions between Israel and Hamas have been rising and manifesting in various ways.
On Friday night, the Iron Dome intercepted one projectile that was launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.
Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires, August 21, 2020.Incendiary balloons were launched throughout Friday, sparking 22 fires, August 21, 2020.