Israeli military helicopters have fired missiles at a car in the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinian militants and at least one other person. Some 15 others have been reported wounded in the attack on Saturday night.

Palestinian residents say the missiles from the Israeli attack helicopters hit the targeted car with a thunderous explosion, obliterating the vehicle.

The helicopters had followed the car for a distance, before launching the strike on a road linking Gaza City and the Jabalya Palestinian refugee camp Saturday evening.

Palestinian witnesses identified two of the dead as brothers Ayman and Amin Dahduh, both members of the Islamic Jihad, a group that has carried out numerous suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks against Israelis.

The Israeli army confirmed that the missile strike had been aimed at members of the organization, suspected of planning to carry out more killings of Israeli citizens.

Israel has frequently used helicopter gun-ships against wanted Palestinians, a practice it calls target killings.

Palestinians accuse Israel of carrying out what they call assassinations, and have appealed for an end to the practice.

The last Israeli helicopter strike in the Gaza Strip was on February 7, when a missile shattered a car, killing an Islamic Jihad leader and a 12-year-old bystander. A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad vowed to continue carrying out more attacks, saying Israel's military operations would not stop the group from carrying out what he called its mission to "liberate the Holy Land."

The latest strike in Gaza came one day after Palestinian gunmen ambushed and killed an Israeli couple close to the West Bank city of Hebron.

On Thursday, two Palestinian gunmen also shot dead an Israeli soldier at the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.