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Israel says hits militant in air strike on Gaza

An Israeli air force F15-E fighter jet takes off for a mission over the Gaza Strip, from the Tel Nof air base in central Israel November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
An Israeli air force F15-E fighter jet takes off for a mission over the Gaza Strip, from the Tel Nof air base in central Israel November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

GAZA (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip on Sunday critically wounded a Palestinian whom the military said was responsible for launching rockets at southern Israel.

The man, identified by Israel as Abdallah Kharti, a member of a small Gaza militant group called the Popular Resistance Committees, was hit by a missile while riding a motorcycle in Gaza city.

"Kharti was involved in numerous incidents of rocket fire towards Israel," the military said in a statement, adding that 33 rockets had been launched at Israel so far this year.

Hospital officials in Gaza said he was in critical condition.

The Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, says it has been trying to prevent smaller militant groups from firing cross-border rockets, to stave off a broader escalation with Israel.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Robin Pomeroy)

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