GAZA, July 16 (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike wounded a Palestinian gunman in the Gaza Strip before dawn on Saturday, medics in the Hamas
Islamist controlled territory said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that an aerial attack was launched under cover of darkness against Gaza militants preparing to fire a rocket at Israel, east of Gaza City. One gunman was injured, a rescue crew member in Gaza said.
Israel has stepped up its air strikes on coastal Gaza this week in response to a resurgence in rocket strikes at Israeli towns that have caused no injury but disrupted routine.
The Israeli military said 16 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel this month some of which damaged buildings. Israel said it responded to shooting on Thursday with aerial strikes on tunnels dug beneath Gaza's border with Egypt.
Palestinians said Israel has fired 10 missiles at its gunmen this month, but latest strike was the first to cause any injury.
Some Israeli media analysts see the renewed cross-border friction as possibly stemming from the latest snags in Hamas' efforts to reconcile with President Mahmoud Abbas
movement, alongside failed Western attempts to renew stalled Middle East peace talks.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem; Editing by Michael Roddy)