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Protests against separation fence resume in Biddu

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Some 150 Palestinians and left-wing Israeli protesters resumed demonstrations Thursday in the village of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem, against the construction of the West Bank separation fence.

The protestors attempted to prevent bulldozers from paving the route of the fence. Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Border Policemen fired tear gas to disperse the protestors.

Fifteen protesters and three security officers were lightly wounded Wednesday afternoon during clashes near Biddu, close to the Israeli town of Mevasseret Zion.

IDF troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinians who tried to prevent the demolition of a house and uprooting of olive trees that stood in the way of the fence. The Biddu area has been the site of several previous protests.

Thirteen of the protesters hurt in Wednesday's clashes were Palestinian and two of them were left-wing activists. Three Palestinians were arrested during the scuffles.

Dozens of Israeli construction workers with electric chain saws, accompanied by five bulldozers, entered Biddu and began cutting down olive trees.

Hundreds of Palestinian villagers, including women and children, tried to obstruct the path of the bulldozers. The army said villagers also threw stones at soldiers guarding the work crew.

"My olives, my olives," yelled one elderly Palestinian farmer as he threw rocks at construction workers sawing away at his olive trees.

In recent weeks, dozens of anti-fence protests have erupted in Palestinian villages in the West Bank, particularly those near Jerusalem. Last month, three Palestinians were killed by IDF fire in such protests.

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