An Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a car Thursday and wounded three Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip (search), Palestinian security officials said.

The attack was the first Israeli airstrike against militants in weeks. Israel has said it would refrain from carrying out offensive operations — unless it was attacked or had information of an imminent attack — in an effort to ensure calm in the run-up Palestinian elections set for Jan. 9.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

The attack wounded Jamal Abu Samahdna, one of the two Gaza commanders of the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella group of militant factions, according to the group. Two of his bodyguards were also wounded, but in good condition, according to the group.

Palestinian security officials said an unmanned Israeli drone plane launched one missile at Abu Samahdna's car as it traveled between Rafah and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

"It was a cowardly assassination attempt ... but they have survived," said Abu Abeer, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (search).

Abu Samahdna, 42, has survived three previous Israeli attacks.