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Security sources say the three were part of a local Salafist-jihadist group that planned to carry out attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank.In the past two years, Israel had reported targeting militant cells bearing some connection to Al-Qaeda in the north of the West Bank and even within Israel.The growing references by Israeli security spokespersons to global jihadism and some Al-Qaeda influence in the West Bank may serve Israel's interests in its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Such threats could lend credibility to Israel's charge that the PA cannot provide security guarantees if Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank. Interviews with Hamas leaders in the West Bank in 2008 revealed that significant segments of the movement, particularly within the Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, were frustrated that Hamas participated in the PA institutions.After the Fatah-Hamas conflict of 2007 led to the suspension of the democratic process and Hamas' takeover of Gaza, the PA adopted severe security measures to curtail Hamas' political and military presence in the West Bank.It is difficult to assess the extent to which new forms of violent opposition to the PA and to Israeli occupation in the West Bank, molded along new Salafist-jihadist lines, will become widespread.
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