The prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority condemned Tuesday's killing of Israelis in the West Bank, the Wafa news agency reported. Four Israelis were killed in the West Bank on the eve of the start of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The armed wing of Islamist movement Hamas said Tuesday it was responsible for the killing. The four, two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, were shot dead between the settlement of Kyriat Arba and the Palestinian village of Bani Naim, not far from the city of Hebron. "The act is aimed against efforts made by the Palestine Liberation Organization to mobilize international support for the Palestinian position to hold a successful political process and put an end to occupation, reaching freedom and independence for the Palestinian people," Salam Fayyad said. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are due to start peace talks in Washington on Thursday, their first direct negotiations in almost two years. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the attack an attempt to undermine negotiations. "It is an evident attempt by terrorists to sabotage efforts aimed at resuming the diplomatic process, and frustrate chances for the start of talks in Washington," he said. The White House on Tuesday condemned the attack.