Gaza City: Gaza's Hamas rulers say they have contacted armed groups in the coastal territory in an apparent bid to calm tensions with Israel.

A statement released Friday by the Hamas government criticized an Israeli "escalation" against Gaza. Israeli planes bombed targets in Gaza overnight after an increase in rocket fire into Israel.

At the same time, the statement says, the Hamas government is "making contact with the factions to safeguard internal agreement."

Hamas has never explicitly criticized attacks against Israel, but the statement's language indicates the Islamic group would act to rein in smaller militant factions carrying out attacks.

Hamas has tried not to provoke Israeli military action such as the devastating Israeli offensive in January 2009.