Islamic Jihad is claiming responsibility for sending two large explosive charges contained in barrels which washed ashore on beaches in Ashkelon and Ashdod, Israeli media outlets reported on Monday.
The first barrel was discovered in Ashkelon on Monday morning, while the second container was spotted as it washed ashore on a beach in Ashdod.
Police believe that the barrels arrived at the beach via the sea from the Gaza Strip and are checking the possibility that it was intended to explode next to a ship or amongst beachgoers.
The explosive charges were neutralized by sappers.
A person who was walking on the Hofit beach in Ashkelon discovered the explosive at 11:30 a.m. and called the police. Security personnel form the northern beaches of Ashkelon arrived at the scene, checked the device and then neutralized it.
Area residents were asked to stay in their homes due to an "unusual security incident".
Police praised the alertness of the person who discovered the device and called on anyone who sees a suspicious item to call the police.
Senior Hamas officials said Sunday the organization was seriously considering a change in strategy that would allow it to attack Israeli targets outside Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The Al Aqsa channel quoted a number of officials Sunday, including Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of Hamas' external relations, and Al Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida, who spoke of the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last week.
Abu Obeida said that the assassination was meant to be a message from Israel that its arm is long enough to strike at the very heart of Arab states.
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