Israeli Jewish settler groups are reacting angrily after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered his country's military to close off Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip to non-residents.
Israeli officials say Mr. Sharon's decision, announced Wednesday, is aimed at preventing an influx of Jewish radical who have vowed to resists the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which is scheduled to begin next month.
Jewish settler groups accused Mr. Sharon of "laying siege" to Jewish communities.
Separately, Israel occupied the West Bank town of Tulkarem in response to Tuesday's deadly suicide bombing by a Palestinian teenager in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya.
The bombing claimed four Israeli lives.
Mr. Sharon also ordered his security forces to target leaders of the Islamic Jihad militant group which claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bombing.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters