23:01 GMT25 July 2021
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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are mobilizing reserve troops to reinforce air defense capabilities in the densely populated central part of Israel and southern Israel bordering the Gaza Strip amid fears that Hamas militants can resume shelling, the IDF press service said.

    "In accordance with the situation assessment, the IDF reinforced its Iron Dome aerial defense batteries in the area of Gush Dan in central Israel and in southern Israel. In addition, several reserve soldiers were called up to reinforce the Aerial Defense Array," the IDF said on Twitter.

    On Saturday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) hit dozens of targets belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip, while Hamas militants supported by Islamic Jihad group fired about 200 rockets and projectiles on southern Israel. The hostilities lasted for about 24 hours and ended after Palestinian militant groups said that a ceasefire arrangement had been coordinated with Israel through Egypt's mediation efforts.

    READ MORE: Israeli Defense Chief Warns Hamas Will 'Pay Heavy Price' Amid New Escalation

    Israeli politicians and military did not rule out new rounds of confrontation despite the relative calm.

    "Moments ago, an IDF aircraft targeted a squad that was launching arson balloons from the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory," the IDF added.

    Hostilities between the Israelis and the Palestinians near the Gaza border increased since late March, which marked the beginning of the Palestinian protest campaign against Israel, dubbed the Great March of Return.

    According to the Palestinian authorities, some 140 people have been killed and thousands of others wounded by the Israeli forces since then.

    air defense, Iron Dome, Palestine, Gaza Strip, Israel
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