A balloon carrying a firebomb launched from the Gaza Strip landed in the yard of a kindergarten in the southern Israeli town of Tkuma on Tuesday, while young children were playing there.
The bomb caused a small fire in the sandy yard, which was quickly contained.
“We had just let the kids outside so they could go play,” kindergarten teacher Bat Sheva Bruchin said.
“Just as we were heading toward the grass, I looked up and saw smoke from above. I immediately realized it was a firebomb balloon. My biggest fear was that the balloon was carrying explosives or gas.
“I had no time to think and I began moving the kids to a protected area, just as we had practiced time and time again. I then called the rescue services and they quickly arrived.”
Earlier in the day, two incendiary balloons were found in a school in the area, but caused no injuries to the staff in the building.
An Israeli aircraft targeted a Palestinian cell in Gaza that had launched additional incendiary balloons across the border.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrived at the IDF Gaza Division headquarters on Tuesday to take part in a security assessment attended by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot as well as Shin Bet security agency Director Nadav Argaman and other senior security officials.
“We are engaged in battle, and we are exchanging fire, but the IDF is prepared for any eventuality,” Netanyahu said at the meeting. “I was very impressed by what I saw and I know that every Israeli believes in the IDF and will lend it support in any future development.”
Lieberman, for his part, remarked that Israel’s security policies cannot be influenced by political pressures or media trends. “We are operating with strength and wisdom,” he stressed. “What we need now is composure and nerves of steel.”
“We can’t operate with a stopwatch in our hands or amid media hysteria,” he added. “We are doing what needs to be done, and the IDF is prepared for any scenario.”