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Some 20 Palestinian demonstrators were injured yesterday in clashes with Israel Defense Forces soldiers during protests against the construction of the separation fence at Biddu village, northwest of Jerusalem. None of the 20 were seriously injured.

Palestinian sources said that IDF bulldozers began work on the fence yesterday morning after the High Court lifted injunctions that suspended the barrier's construction for the last month. Meanwhile, said the Palestinians, olive trees located on the route planned for the fence were uprooted and the IDF issued house demolition orders against homes located on the planned fence route.

The clashes between IDF troops and hundreds of Palestinian protesters and some Israeli and international demonstrators began at the start of the construction work. Soldiers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators. The conflict escalated throughout the day, as young people from Biddu hurled stones at the IDF soldiers and Israeli police and Israeli soldiers guarded workers who uprooted trees in the olive grove. In recent weeks, dozens of anti-fence protests have erupted in Palestinian villages in the West Bank, particularly ones near Jerusalem. Last month, three Palestinians were killed by army fire in such protests.

In other developments, a Palestinian youth from the Balata refugee camp on the West Bank died yesterday of wounds sustained during clashes with Israeli troops a day earlier. Ibrahim Abu Saris, 16, was wounded on Tuesday during clashes with IDF soldiers in the city of Nablus.

Also yesterday, three Palestinians were reportedly wounded when IDF troops operating in the old city of Nablus opened fire on them. One of the men was armed with a gun and a second hurled a Molotov cocktail at the troops.