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Four journalists detained in West Bank protest

The Israeli military confirmed that the four were detained for entering a closed military zone and interfering with the soldiers who were trying to disperse the protest.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2007 09:29 IST

Four journalists including one from Al-Jazeera and one from Reuters, were detained by the Israeli military during a Palestinian protest against the Israeli-built separation barrier in the West Bank village Biliin.

The Israeli military confirmed that the four were detained Friday for entering a closed military zone and interfering with the soldiers who were trying to disperse the protest, which the army deemed "illegal."

The journalists were released several hours later.

Also Friday, in the village Umm Salmouna near Bethlehem, villagers and activists protested against a new section of the barrier being built. One Palestinian organizer was arrested, and several protesters were injured during confrontations with Israeli security forces.

In both events the protesters caused damage to the barrier.

Einat Podjarny, an Israeli activist, said 15 protesters, including a journalist, were wounded in Biliin when the army used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up the protest. She added that about 150 people, including some Israelis, participated in the event.

The protesters marched from the village's mosque to the area of the barrier, where the confrontation with the military began. Some Palestinian protesters threw stones at the Israeli security forces.

Villagers from Biliin protest nearly every Friday against the barrier built by Israel, which separates the village from about half of its land, including most of its arable land, according to residents.

Israel says it built the barrier on its current path for security reasons.