In First, Gaza-style Incendiary Balloon Found in Jerusalem Courtyard

Police say it isn't clear where the balloon was launched from, but it had explosives attached to it ■ Balloon suspected to be hurled in copycat attack of airborne firebombs that Palestinians have been targeting Israel with

Palestinian protesters fly a kite with a burning rag dangling from its tail to during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, April 20, 2018
Khalil Hamra/AP

A balloon with explosives attached to it was found in the courtyard of a house in Jerusalem on Friday, in what police suspect could be a copycat attack of the incendiary balloons and kites that Palestinians have been launching at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past months.

Police sappers arrived at the scene, but were unable to clarify from where the object was launched.

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"We are constantly warning [people] to exert a maximum degree of caution with suspicious objects such as kites or balloons, which may be incendiary or connected to explosives, and could be harmful unless handled responsibly," the police said in a statement.

Flaming kites and balloons have been launched almost daily from Gaza in recent weeks, causing fires in Israeli communities close to the border. This week, Israel's security cabinet instructed the army to continue to target the young squads launching the devices in the Strip.

On Friday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Hamas "is forcing Israel into a situation that may demand a "broad, painful military operation" that will be larger than the one in 2014."

Lieberman also referred to the many fires started by the balloons and kites, saying: "We all saw in the newspaper that because of the kites and because of the fires, we're not going to war – although any reasonable person who sees natural woodlands burned, thousands of acres of agricultural fields burned, understands that the situation is unreasonable.

We are acting with responsibility and restraint, even though the real problem is the erosion of deterrence, a change in the equation and of course the sense of security, which is no less important than security itself."