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(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF is in a heightened state of alert ahead of the Annapolis summit next week, out of fear that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will try to perpetrate a large-scale terror attack to derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, defense officials said Sunday.
The officials said there were currently 10 specific warnings concerning Palestinian plans to launch a terror attack before the summit.
The officials said that while there was no concrete intelligence that the warnings were connected to the peace summit, which is scheduled to be held at the Annapolis Naval Academy next Monday, the assumption was that terror groups - particularly Islamic Jihad and Hamas - would try to perpetrate an attack to spoil the peace efforts.
"There is a concerted effort today by Hamas and other terror groups to derail the talks," a defense official said. "One of the ways to do that is to carry out a large-scale attack inside Israel."
Meanwhile, Palestinian Interior Minister Abdel Razak Al-Yahya said on Sunday that PA security forces had busted a number of Hamas cells in the West Bank. Yahya told the Kuwaiti newspaper A-Rai that the cell members had armed themselves and had been training to seize control of PA institutions in the West Bank.
"We started with Fatah's armed wing - the Aksa Martyrs Brigades - so no one could say we were being hypocritical. Then we'll take apart Hamas's armed wing," he said. "We will collect all the illegal weapons."
Israeli defense officials said the PA security forces were doing an effective job in cracking down on Hamas in Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm, and as a result the terror group had begun to transfer its operations out of the larger cities and into nearby villages.
Defense officials said that Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the US security coordinator between Israel and the PA, was continuing to train PA forces loyal to Abbas and that his plan was to deploy these forces in additional West Bank cities, as was done in Nablus several weeks ago.
The defense establishment is currently considering a request by the Palestinian forces in the West Bank to receive armored vehicles. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories are in favor of transferring the vehicles to the PA forces. Military Intelligence and the IDF's Planning Division are against the move.