TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ Security forces today captured Syrian-backed Palestinian guerrillas suspected of killing a British tourist and of carrying out three other shootings in Jerusalem, police said.

Police spokesman Rafi Levi identified the guerrillas as members of the Abu Musa faction, which split in 1983 from the Palestine Liberation Organization's main Fatah wing led by Yasser Arafat. Levi said they are suspected of killing British tourist Paul Appleby on Sunday.

Levi declined to give further information and a Jerusalem court ordered a news blackout on additional details.

The report contradicted a claim made by a terrorist group associated with Abu Nidal, who split from the PLO in 1974. That group said in a typewritten statement delivered to a Western news agency in west Beirut that it killed Appleby in retaliation for the April 15 U.S. bombing raid on Libya.

Levi said the guerrillas captured today were also believed responsible for the shooting death of Israeli businesswoman Zehava ben Ovadia on April 14, and the wounding of an American tourist on March 7 and a German tourist on April 16.

Earlier, police said the same gun was used to shoot Appleby, ben Ovadia and the West German tourist, and that there were other similarities in those shootings.

Appleby, a 28-year-old from Bristol, England, was slain en route to the Christian shrine known as the Garden Tomb in predominantly Arab east Jerusalem.

A military source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Abu Nidal connection was a possibility but could not be verified.

He said at least three unidentified terrorist groups were operating from the West Bank, captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War.

Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabry al-Banna, is believed closely allied with Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy.