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‘Anarchists’ in Amona: Hardliners hold out in West Bank settlement outpost

Police say they're trying to negotiate the departure of between 70 and 150 'anarchists' who have barricaded themselves inside a synagogue
Israeli security forces carry a teenage hardline Jewish supporter of the Amona outpost northeast of Ramallah on 1 February, 2017 (AFP)

Dozens of hardline Jewish settlers barricaded themselves inside a synagogue in a wildcat outpost in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, refusing to leave on the second day of a police operation to evict residents.

Police had managed to remove all but one of the 42 families who lived in the Amona outpost on Wednesday in line with a High Court order that found that it was built illegally on private Palestinian land.

On Thursday morning, large numbers of police moved in to evict the final family, with the mother screaming loudly as she was dragged away, an AFP correspondent reported.

But police said they were still trying to negotiate the voluntary departure of between 70 and 150 "anarchists" who had barricaded themselves inside the adjacent synagogue.

Hundreds of far-right activists had slipped past army roadblocks early on Wednesday in a show of support for the Amona residents.

Police said they removed 800 on Wednesday, making 13 arrests.

They said 24 officers sustained minor injuries in scuffles with the protesters.

The eviction of the Amona residents came just hours after the government unveiled plans for 3,000 new homes in other West Bank settlements in a move widely seen as a sop to their supporters.

Hardliners within the governing coalition had bitterly opposed the eviction and had spent months trying to pass legislation to overturn the court order.

Israel has now approved more than 6,000 new homes for settlers since US President Donald Trump took office less than two weeks ago having signalled a softer stance on settlement construction.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned Wednesday that the quickening expansion of Jewish settlements risked making a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict impossible.

The international community considers all Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal.

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