Six Airborne Firebombs Launched From Gaza Into Israel Amid Uptick in Attacks

The incendiary balloons launched at Israel mark the latest development in a week-long escalation that began after the publication of Trump's peace plan

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An airborne firebomb in an Israeli field near the Gaza Strip, February 3, 2020
An airborne firebomb in an Israeli field near the Gaza Strip, February 3, 2020Credit: Eshkol Regional Council Spokesperson

Six airborne firebombs launched from the Gaza Strip were found Monday in five locations close to Israel's border with the coastal enclave. 

An unspecified number of the devices, also known as incendiary balloons, exploded before landing; the rest had been diffused by police. No damage or injuries were reported. 

Three of the firebombs were found around 4 P.M. in the Eshkol Regional Council. Police said one of them exploded in the air and the other two were neutralized. Shortly thereafter, another was sighted in a farm in the village of Talmei Bilu.

More were reported around Sderot and Kiryat Gat, north of the Gaza Strip, leading to police closing a 24 kilometers-long stretch of Israel's major north-to-south highway, Route 6. Near evening, an explosion was reported near a kibbutz in the Negev Regional Council, further south.

An incendiary device attached to a balloon launched from Gaza found in southern Israel, February 3, 2020Credit: Merhavim Regional Council Spokesperson

The firebombs were launched at Israel amid an escalation in such incidents following the publication of the Trump peace plan on Tuesday. At least 11 rockets and mortar shells have been fired from the Gaza Strip at communities close to the border on seven different occasions.

Israel has retaliated by hitting Hamas positions inside the coastal enclave. On Saturday, it also announced several new restrictions on the Strip. No cement is currently allowed into Gaza, and 500 entry permits for Palestinian merchants have been suspended since Sunday morning “until further notice,” according to a statement released by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon. 

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