Explosive devices wash up on Israeli beaches

Israeli security officials said on Tuesday that two explosive devices that had drifted onto Israel’s southern shoreline on Monday, clearly indicated that it was as an attempt by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip to attack Israel.

Earlier, on Monday evening, an explosive device was found drifting just off Hofit beach in Ashkelon. A second device was discovered a couple of hours later on Kshatot beach in Ashdod. Both devices had been hidden in barrels and weighed over a dozen pounds each, police said. One barrel had been defused by a bomb squad while the other exploded when a robot was inspecting it.

Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said the devices were seen as “intended for use in attacks in Israel”. He declined however to specify on their nature.

Commenting on the incident, Avraham Ben Shushan, a former commander of the Israeli navy, said it might have been primitive mines targeting Israeli naval vessels. “It appears to me that the devices that have landed on the beaches were washed up after failing to detonate at sea”, Ben Shushan said.

In a joint statement made later on Tuesday, three Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the explosive-filled barrels. The statement said is was part of a joint operation of the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to retaliate against Israel for its “continuous crimes” and the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.