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Authorities Investigate ‘Terror Balloons’ Found For First Time In Israeli City Of Beersheba

Israeli authorities launched an investigation to determine whether “terror balloons” found Monday night in the city of Beersheba were launched from the Gaza Strip. For the past two months, rudimentary objects—ranging from kites to inflated condoms—rigged with flammable or explosive materials have been flown from the Palestinian enclave into southern Israel, causing massive wildfires that have destroyed thousands of acres of agricultural land and nature reserves. To date, the damage, estimated at more than $2 million, has been limited to areas directly adjacent to the Gaza border; however, Beersheba is located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the Hamas-ruled territory, raising concern that more advanced incendiary devices are being developed to reach deeper into Israel. Earlier this month, two balloons drenched in flammable liquid were found next to a home in Jerusalem’s Gilo suburb—the first such incident in the capital—although police do not believe that they originated in Gaza. Israel has threatened Hamas with a major military incursion should the attacks continue.