GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, seized an Israeli military surveillance balloon June 17. The observation balloon crashed in the Beit Hanoun area of the northern Gaza Strip after it disconnected from its anchor. The Israeli army attempted but failed to destroy it before Hamas members could find it.
The Israeli army deploys a number of these balloons, fitted with sensitive sensors and cameras that are not found in the Gaza Strip to monitor the entire border area. Amir Bohbot, military editor and senior defense analyst for Walla, Israel's leading news website, described the incident as a “dangerous event,” but the Israeli army reassured it was not afraid of a “significant” leak of information. It pulled out the other balloons from the borders as a precautionary measure.