In a move seen as provocative, Israeli settlers entered two Palestinian villages on Thursday and refused to leave when ordered to do so by Israeli army, Israel media sources reported.

The source said that settlers deliberately marched into the Palestinian villages of Rumman, near Tulkarem and Ein Badan east of Nablus.

Settlers from the settlement of Yitzhar entered the village of Ruman.  Army asked to leave as the area is classified as Area A, which an Israeli military order prohibits Israeli civilians to enter.  Army has had to send large forces, including Special Forces, to evacuate them, the source reported.

The settlers then continued their march to the settlement of Sa-Nur, slated for evacuation under the disengagement plan.

Earlier Thursday, 40 yeshiva students from the Elon Moreh settlement entered the nearby village of Ein Bidan during a march to the settlement Homesh, another settlement slated to be evacuated under the disengagement plan.

Soldiers arrested 22 students and took them to a police station in Ariel for questioning, and their release was expected soon. The army is still pursuing the remaining students.

Military sources slammed settler leaders in the northern West Bank settlements for supporting these acts that are aimed against the disengagement plan.  The army described Thursday actions as illegal.

‘The identity of those responsible for these acts is very clear. Public leaders such as Elon Moreh’s rabbi Elyakim Levanon, and municipality head in Kedumim Daniella Weiss, do nothing to restraint the provocations that put civilians’ and soldiers’ lives at risk,’ the sources reported.

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