Israel Air Force jets struck Wednesday a group of Palestinian militants in southern Gaza, killing one gunman and wounding another as they rode a motorcycle, Gaza medical officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed carrying out the dawn strike, saying it targeted Palestinians who had launched a short-range rocket across the border on Tuesday. No one was hurt in that attack, which followed a surge in fighting around Gaza this month.

Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian faction that has played a leading role in the violence and is an occasional ally of Gaza's Hamas rulers, claimed the dead man and his comrade as its own. They had been driving to mosque prayers when they were struck on the road from Khan Younis to Rafah in south Gaza, Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

With Israel threatening a wider assault on Gaza in response to the recent rocket salvos, Hamas on Saturday offered a truce.

But exchanges of fire between Israel and Islamic Jihad have persisted.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel's air force bombed a smuggling tunnel used by Palestinians to circumvent a blockade on Gaza's border with Egypt, witnesses said.