The mostly American Chabad group barricaded in a bomb shelter in Neve Dekalim, Gaza are threatening mass suicide:
Members of a New York-based ultra-Orthodox Jewish movement were threatening to commit mass suicide on Wednesday in protest at the Gaza Strip pull-out, security sources and associates said.
The members of the Lubavitch movement had barricaded themselves inside a communal bomb shelter at the main Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim with gas cylinders, said their local leader, Rabbi Yigal Kirshenzaft.
"There are about 20 of them shut inside a bomb shelter and say they have gas there," he said.
An AFP correspondent said border police officers and two rabbis were trying to negotiate through air vents with the group, mostly Americans, inside.
One security source put the number inside at about a dozen, but said it had not been confirmed that the group also had gas canisters.
The group are followers of the late Rabbi Menacham Mendel Schneerson, who headed the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch movement until his death 11 years ago.