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Israel on alert

Last updated: 2007-11-20

Israel soldiers

Israel soldiers

Israel is on alert for possible terrorist attacks aimed at scuttling the Annapolis peace conference.

Israel said it was stepping up security measures ahead of next week's meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Annapolis.

"The very fact of us going to Annapolis could be enough to spur Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and even Hezbollah, to carry out attacks," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told reporters.

Israeli security sources said they had intelligence indicating there were 10 attacks in the works. Israel is especially concerned that Hezbollah or Hamas could try to kidnap more of its soldiers to use as bargaining chips for jailed Palestinians.

A major Palestinian terrorist attack also would embarrass Abbas, who has been trying to restore security in parts of the West Bank as a confidence-building move.

(c) JTA