Gaza protestors hurl acid

Kfar Darom Settlement - Hardline settlers have hurled acid and dirt bombs at Israeli security forces who were trying to evict them from a synagogue in the Gaza Strip settlement of Kfar Darom.

Forces on the ground sprayed coloured water cannon at dozens of rooftop protestors to help their colleagues climb up ladders to reach the summit.

Police in riot gear used wire cutters to cut through a mass of razor wire which had been spread across the roof while other forces were able to land on top of the building after being manoeuvred into place by a crane.

The protestors could be seen jamming metal poles into the shields of the forces and hurling buckets of coloured liquid and dirt at the troops.

"Jews Don't Expel Jews," they shouted.

"We have several policemen who have been wounded by acid and we will apply the full force of the law," General Dan Harel, the commander of the Gaza pullout operation, told reporters.

A stream of people who had taken refuge inside the synagogue in one of the most defiant settler bastions wwere earlier carried out by unarmed soldiers and police wearing riot gear.

Witnesses said that the forces who had entered the synagogue found themselves sliding about after the floor had been covered in cooking oil.

One soldier was seen refusing to carry out his orders to drag out the settlers before being pulled away by other soldiers and policemen.

The synagogue in the 400-strong community was officially inaugurated on independence day in May.

Ironically, its foundation stone was laid a decade ago by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, once the darling of the settler movement and now their bete noire for his decision to pull out of Palestinian territory for the first time.

Most of those holed up in the synagogue were not residents of Kfar Darom but had converged on the settlement in recent weeks in a show of solidarity with their ideological soulmates.

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