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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Standoffs Continue in Gaza

NEVE DEKALIM, Gaza Strip -- Israeli troops stormed two Gaza Strip synagogues and dragged out screaming settlers and supporters on Thursday in assaults on the last bastions of resistance to a pullout from the occupied territory.

Hundreds of unarmed soldiers and police swept into the main house of worship in the largest Gaza settlement, Neve Dekalim, ending a two-day standoff with more than 1,000 ultranationalist youths who had defied orders to leave.

An hour and a half later, troops in riot gear broke into the synagogue in the hard-line religious settlement of Kfar Darom and carried out hundreds of young radicals barricaded inside.

Troops also dragged away a soldier who refused to take part in the operation -- the first such mutiny since the start of forced evictions from Gaza settlements on Wednesday.

A red-roofed villa was set ablaze in Neve Dekalim. An armed man on a seaside rooftop vowed to shoot if anyone tried to evict him, only to relent after negotiating with police.

Another tense situation ended without serious violence as forces entered the beachfront stronghold of Shirat Hayam. Bulldozers cleared away burning tires and garbage, and troops pulled out settlers and protesters, some kicking and shouting.

Officials said 80 percent of Gaza's Jews had left or been evicted. More than 50,000 police and soldiers were deployed in Israel's largest-ever noncombat military operation.