GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli helicopters fired two missiles at a car carrying Hamas militants on a road through the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing three people.
Hamas (search) officials said two of the dead were its militants, but the affiliation of the third was unknown. The Israeli army said in a statement that the car carried "three senior Hamas militants" who plotted attacks against civilians in the past and were planning more.
The air strike demolished the car, which was traveling on a Mediterranean coastal road used by Palestinians near the Israeli settlement of Netzarim (search), witnesses said.
Israeli jets were heard flying overhead shortly after two explosions. Smoke billowed from the wreckage of the white car, and ambulances rushed to the scene.
"A missile from the sky hit the car," said Ahmed Asmat, 35, a farmer who was working in his greenhouse about 100 yards from the explosion. Intense gunfire came from the direction of the settlement, about 500 yards away, he said.
Israel's air force has routinely sent helicopter gunships and warplanes to kill Palestinian militants in pinpoint airstrikes. In the last strike, a helicopter fired two missiles into a car Saturday night, killing three Islamic Jihad (search) members.
After the attack Wednesday, dozens of angry Hamas supporters tried to storm the morgue at Shifa Hospital in Gaza to identify the victims. Others at the hospital were crying, covering their faces and calling for revenge.
At the scene, screaming crowds of people threw sand onto the burning, smoking wreckage, beating it with coats and scarves to try to put out the fire.
A man using a blanket lifted a charred, decapitated body from the wreck and heaved it onto a stretcher.
Some in the crowd lashed out at Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority (search).
"I spit on the Palestinian Authority and those who brought them here," one person at the scene screamed.