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Protesters Try to Tear Down West Bank Fence - 2003-08-01

Eleven people were reported injured Friday when Israeli troops fired rubber bullets at protesters approaching the controversial security fence in the West Bank.

Israeli army officials say soldiers fired on a group of about 350 demonstrators after they tried to tear down the fence dividing Israeli and Palestinian areas near the West Bank town of Tulkarem. The army said it used non-lethal means to disperse the crowd.

A spokesman for the International Solidarity Movement said a number of its peace activists and several Palestinians were injured in the incident. The Israeli army says it is investigating the reports of injuries.

U.S. officials have said the building of the security fence could slow the peace process, and President Bush has called it "a problem."

Also Friday, an Israeli prison official says about 600 Palestinian inmates began a hunger strike to protest what they say was violence by prison guards during a riot at an Israeli prison in Ashkelon in southern Israel on Thursday.

Palestinian inmates were demanding better conditions. Eighteen Palestinian prisoners and two Israeli prison guards were injured in the incident.