A balloon launched from Gaza carried an anti-tank missile warhead into Israel on Saturday, representing a new stage in the airborne attacks that have remained a key feature of the Hamas terror group’s nearly year-long “March of Return” riots along the Israel-Gaza border.
While balloons, kites, drones, and even a live falcon have been used by Palestinian rioters to send incendiary devices into Israel, the incident on Saturday represents the first time they sent an anti-tank missile warhead into Israeli territory.
Police sappers arrived to the Sdot Negev area immediately and carried out a controlled explosion, according to coverage in the Israeli media.
To date, fires started by airborne incendiary devices have burned thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and nature preserves, causing millions of dollars of damage.
On Friday, Palestinians rioted along the fence bordering the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and Palestinians and the Israeli military clashed in Samaria earlier in the day.
Terrorists also fired a rocket from Gaza on Friday, which landed in an open field in Israel and failed to cause any damage or injuries. The Israeli Air Force responded with several strikes on the Strip, hitting a Hamas base and other underground infrastructure.
In a statement, the military said the raids were a response to the projectile and incendiary kites that were flown Friday across the border. There were no reports of casualties.
Thousands participated in Friday’s riots along several sections of the fence, which occurred shortly after Egyptian mediators met in Gaza City with Hamas’ leadership in a bid to calm the situation. There were no immediate details about the results of the discussions.
Also on Friday, the Israeli military said it detained two Palestinians shortly after they crossed the border from Gaza. They were hiding a grenade and a knife in their clothes, according to the military.
In Samaria, meanwhile, clashes erupted between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian rioters in Beit Sira village, the site of a car-ramming attack earlier in the week that left an Israeli officer seriously wounded, prompting troops to open fire, killing two Palestinians assailants in the car.
Originally posted at YNet News.