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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 June, 2005, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Gaza clashes as demolitions begin
Protester is removed from bulldozer
Soldiers were confronted by several dozen young activists
Israeli settlers have clashed with soldiers in the Gaza Strip during work to dismantle buildings ahead of the planned withdrawal from the territory.

Young protesters lay in front of bulldozers and climbed up on them near the coastal settlement of Shirat Hayam.

They were trying to halt the demolition of a group of derelict beach houses.

The pullout, which is due to begin in August, will see the removal of settlers from all 21 Gaza settlements, and four of 120 in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the funeral of an Israeli teenager shot dead by Palestinian gunmen on Friday turned into a protest against the withdrawal.

Mourners wearing orange, symbolising opposition to the Gaza pullout, gathered outside the prime minister's office.

The demonstration came as the Israeli cabinet approved plans to relocate up to 5,000 settlers to a prime coastal area in southern Israel, Nitzanim.

Soldier arrested

The beach houses demolished in Gaza on Sunday are near a derelict hotel where hundreds of opponents of withdrawal have barricaded themselves.

Click below to see a detailed map of the Israeli disengagement plan

As the troops arrived to carry out the demolitions, they were confronted by several dozen young activists, most of them Orthodox Jews. "Jews don't expel Jews," they shouted at the soldiers.

Ten Israeli civilians and 10 soldiers were injured in the scuffles and were taken away for medical treatment, but none were seriously hurt, the Israeli army said in a statement.

One soldier who called on fellow soldiers not to demolish the buildings was taken away by other troops and will be tried by a senior officer on Monday, the army added.

Hannah Apickar, a resident of Shirat Hayam, said Sunday's scuffle was a sign of things to come.

She told Israeli TV: "We haven't been violent, but you have to understand that when we see something like this here, we shall oppose it. We shall not let the bulldozers reach our area."


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