PA: Terrorists sought to sabotage talks

IDF arrests five Palestinians in connection with West Bank shooting attack which left two Israelis dead.

Troops Hebron attack 224 (photo credit: AP)
Troops Hebron attack 224
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki strongly condemned Friday's shooting attack near Hebron which claimed the lives of two IDF soldiers on leave, Private Ahikam Amihai (20) and Sergeant David Rubin (21). "The group that carried out the attack seeks to sabotage peace negotiations and the Palestinian Authority's plan to increase security in the Palestinian territories," he was quoted as saying by Israel Radio on Saturday. Malki added that severe steps would be taken against those responsible for the terror attack. The off-duty IDF soldiers were attacked when they were hiking in the Hebron Hills but before they died, they fired back and killed one of the assailants, the IDF said. Amihai was in the Navy Seals and Rubin had served in Shaldag, an elite IAF unit. A second Palestinian assailant was seriously wounded in the firefight, the army reported. The affiliation of the assailants was not clear because of conflicting claims of responsibility by Palestinian groups. Early Saturday, IDF troops detained five Palestinians from Hebron in connection with the attack. Palestinian officials said two other wounded were detained after soldiers raided the Hebron hospital. A woman who was with the two Israelis but escaped unharmed was quoted by Israel Radio as saying they had been near the settlement of Kiryat Arba where all three lived. They were approached by a jeep carrying a group of Palestinian gunmen who fired at them, the woman was reported as saying. Two Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the terror attack. On Friday, Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack in a news conference in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, the Islamic Jihad said the dead gunman was a member of its West Bank cell, adding that three others who participated in the attack survived the clash and were in hiding. The two groups described the shooting as an act of revenge for the killing of Palestinian operatives in Gaza.