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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Outpost cleared in new Gaza raid
Israeli police carry out a protester from Gadid, in Gaza, as another remonstrates with them
Israeli forces removed dozens of protesters from Gadid's synagogue
Israeli troops have pulled dozens of settlers and their supporters from a synagogue in an operation to clear Gadid, a small Jewish outpost in Gaza.

The soldiers stormed through burning barricades at sunrise to enter Gadid, one of the last pockets of resistance.

The move follows a day-long operation on Thursday in which troops expelled settler activists holed up in two of the area's most hardline settlements.

Evictions will be suspended on Friday evening for the Jewish Sabbath.

Israeli troops were greeted with cries of "Nazi" as they forced their way into Gadid but were able to drag protesters from the synagogue with little resistance.

The operation was later declared over by the Israeli army, leaving just four settlements in Gaza to be evacuated next week.

Officials said only 25% of Jewish families remained by the end of Thursday's operations.

Protesters arrested

Demolition of evacuated buildings has begun, with bulldozers and cranes used to level empty homes in Kerem Atzmona, in the Gush Katif bloc.

The army first moved into Gaza on Wednesday to evict settlers who had ignored orders to leave, and most of the settlements were peacefully cleared then.

Jewish settlers fly an Israeli flag from a house they have blockaded themselves in to in Morag settlement, Gaza

On Thursday, thousands of unarmed troops tackled hardline settlers who had stayed and the thousands of sympathisers who had joined them.

First, troops cleared the synagogue at Neve Dekalim, but there was no violence as those inside were carried out one by one.

In Kfar Darom however - one of the more radical settlements - more than 100 protesters were arrested following clashes and at least 70 people needed hospital treatment.

Troops stormed the synagogue there, before soldiers backed with water cannon battled young protesters on the roof.

The activists pelted security forces with sand, foam and acid, which caused burns to some officers.

Restraint praised

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon described the attacks on security forces as "criminal" and called for the prosecution of those responsible.

A poll in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily says almost 90% of those questioned approve of the security forces' handling of the evictions.

Troops on Thursday also cleared the beachside community of Shirat Hayam, believed to be the most radical of all.

Protesters clash with police at Kfar Darom synagogue
Troops backed with water cannon clashed with Kfar Darom activists
"This is one of the saddest moments of my life. It's disgusting throwing these Jews out of here," a sympathiser told AFP news agency.

"Shame on you," shouted residents as a bulldozer smashed its way into the settlement of Netzer Hazani.

At Kfar Yam, police ended a stand-off with an armed settler who had threatened to open fire on troops if they tried to remove him.

The head of the Israeli army's Southern Command, Gen Dan Harel, praised both the security forces and settlers for limiting the levels of confrontation.

Israeli officials say the mission is going faster than expected and may be over within days, instead of the scheduled six weeks.

The unilateral Gaza withdrawal marks the first transfer of Palestinian land seized by Israel in 1967.


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