Iran, Syria said to be stepping up support of terrorists

IDF: Terrorists want to torpedo Annapolis peace conference, scheduled for next week.

al aksa gunman 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
al aksa gunman 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
A day after a young father was gunned down in a Palestinian shooting attack near the settlement of Kedumim, IDF officers warned Tuesday that Palestinian terrorist groups would continue trying to perpetrate terror attacks in an effort to derail peace talks ahead of the Annapolis peace summit. Late Monday night, Ido Zoldan, a 29-year-old father of two from the settlement of Shavei Shomron, was killed in a shooting attack as he drove past the Palestinian village of al-Punduk. Minutes after the shooting attack, IDF troops from the Golani Brigade thwarted an infiltration into the community of Netiv Ha'asarah, just north of the Gaza Strip. Four Palestinians were killed in the clashes. Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility for the West Bank shooting attack, saying it was "a protest against the Annapolis conference and a response to Israel's crimes against the Palestinians." Defense officials said there was growing Iranian and Syrian involvement in motivating Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank to carry out terrorist attacks in recent months, including the transfer of funds and instructions. "These groups have an interest in the summit failing and they are trying everything they can to make that happen," an IDF source said. The shooting was carried out by terrorists formerly affiliated with Fatah, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday. He stressed that the incident was not linked to the thwarted infiltration attempt from the Gaza Strip to the community of Netiv Ha'asara. Ashkenazi said the defense establishment was concerned with the possibility that terrorist groups would try to "blow up" the Annapolis talks, and as a result had heightened the state of alert. Defense Minister Ehud Barak also referred to the attack during a tour of a military base in the South and said the IDF was "beefed up and ready." As reported in The Jerusalem Post on Monday, the IDF over the weekend decided to raise the level of alert ahead of the Annapolis summit scheduled to take place next week. The IDF has also instructed Israelis to refrain from entering Palestinian towns and soldiers from hitchhiking in the West Bank out of fear that they will be kidnapped. Sheera Claire Frenkel contributed to the report.