Palestinian security officials have asked Israel to help locate two Islamic militants from the Hebron area suspected of planning to sneak into Israel to carry out suicide attacks.
The two, in their 20s, had been detained in Israeli jails last year for suspected activities in the Hamas fundamentalist group.
They have been missing from their homes in a West Bank village near Hebron since the weekend.
Family members and neighbors Monday denied reports that the two may be involved in terrorist activity. The father of one was being questioned by Israeli security forces.
The two come from Dhahiriya, the home of the suicide bomber who carried out last August’s suicide bombing on the No. 26 bus in Jerusalem’s northern neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol. Four victims were killed in that attack, and more than 100 were injured.
Israeli security forces have been on high alert for suicide attacks in the days leading up to Israel’s May 29 national elections.
The head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, echoed the recent warnings of other Israeli officials when he told the Cabinet on Sunday there was information terrorist groups would soon try to carry out suicide bombings.
Rear Adm. Ami Ayalon added that there might even be an attack on election day in an effort to sway the electorate away from the peace policies of Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
Ayalon also said there was growing evidence that Iran was increasing its direct involvement in influencing militant Islamic groups to carry out terror attacks against Israel.