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Israeli Security Chief Warns of Possible Assassination Attempt by Jewish Militants

An Israeli security chief has warned that politicians could again be targeted by Jewish militants. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem.

The head of Israel's Shin Bet security service has warned that Jewish extremists could try to assassinate an Israeli leader. Yuval Diskin told the Cabinet the aim would be to torpedo peace moves with the Palestinians.

It is a sensitive issue-this week, Israel marks the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish militant opposed to his peace policies.

There has been growing tension between militant Jewish settlers in the West Bank and the Israeli government. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lashed out at the settlers for recent attacks on Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians.

Mr. Olmert told the Cabinet that most settlers are law-abiding citizens who love the people and Land of Israel.

But he said there is also a group, that is not small, that is threatening the rule of law in the State of Israel. Mr. Olmert said it is intolerable.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak concurred. "The settlers who are breaking the law are a threat to the state," he said." "This is a dangerous phenomenon" that will not be allowed.

Militant settlers are angry over the government's peace talks with the Palestinians, which could lead to Israel relinquishing most of the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem. The settlers believe that violates God's command to settle all the biblical Land of Israel. So 13 years after the Rabin assassination, there are growing fears it could happen again.