Israel's "recent escalation" in the Gaza Strip aims to sabotage Palestinian reconciliation efforts, Islamic Jihad leader Ahmad Mudallal told Ma'an on Thursday.Earlier inThursday, Palestinian terrorists fired mortar shells at IDF soldiers on the border between Israel southern Gaza. In response, the Israel Air Force struck the cell that fired into Israel.The air force hit a small group of Palestinian armed men as they were preparing to fire again on IDF troops near the security fence, the IDF said. Israel was "waging a war of attrition against Palestinian resistance groups, especially Islamic Jihad," Mudallal told Ma'an.He accused Israel of attempt to "break the spirit of resistance" in order to impose its will on the Palestinians.On Wednesday, Hamas released seven Fatah activists who had been sentenced to prison for security-related offenses as a part of a series of measures to pave the way for reconciliation with Fatah.The measures, which have been welcomed by Fatah leaders, also include the return of Fatah activists who fled the Gaza Strip to their homes.Senior Fatah official Azam al-Ahmed is expected arrive at the Gaza Strip soon to discuss ways to end the dispute between the Palestinian factions. Senior security sources are noting an increase over the past two weeks in attacks from Gaza on Israel, leading them to question Hamas's motivation or ability to continue to enforce the truce, in effect since Operation Pillar of Defense of November 2012.Hamas's ability to enforce the ceasefire may be in decline because growing pressure from Egypt, which has sealed smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Sinai, and the general hostility of the Egyptian military government towards Hamas, due to its affiliations with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The closing of the tunnels is having a negative impact on Gaza's economy.Khaled Abu Toameh and Yaakov Lapping contributed to this report.