Army Continues to Remove Illegal Squatters from Northern Sinai

The army continued its forcible removal of illegal squatters from villages in northern Sinai today. The militants, who hope by their presence to prevent the government from carrying out its final withdrawal from Sinai April 25, offered only passive resistance. The soldiers, unarmed, carried the protestors bodily to waiting buses for transportation out of the area.

At dawn today, 22 families comprising some 50 men, women and children, were removed from barricaded huts at Talmei Yosef, a settlement inland from Yamit which lies on the coast. The families, all Orthodox Jews, were allowed to complete their morning prayers and were physically removed only after they refused to leave voluntarily.

Later in the day, three families were evacuated in a similar manner from Maoz Hayom and 12 from Nir Avraham. Many of the squatters are members of Kach, an ultra-nationalist movement headed by Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane, who has established himself in Yomit, complained today that the squatters reacted “too gently” to the army.

Although the removal operation has proceeded without incident so far, many of those evacuated told reporters that they would re-infiltrate Sinai after they are released by the authorities. Several score militants were said to have evaded roadblocks and entered Yamit last night.

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