Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 16:34 UK

West Bank man killed at protest

Relatives mourn dead Palestinian protester Bassem Abu Rahmeh
The Israeli military is investigating the cause of death

A Palestinian has died after he was hit by a tear gas canister during a protest against the West Bank barrier, protesters and medics say.

The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident in the West Bank town of Bilin.

It said tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets were used to disperse rock-throwing rioters.

Last month a US protester was left in a coma after he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister in a nearby village.

Demonstrations take place weekly in Bilin, where residents have long protested against the loss of land and freedom of movement caused by the building of the barrier, which Israel says is for security.

Bassem Abu Rahmeh, aged about 30, died in a hospital in Ramallah on Friday. A doctor told AP news agency he had been hit in the chest by a tear gas canister.

The West Bank barrier at Qalandia checkpoint

The Israeli military said it would work with Palestinian medics to determine the cause of his death.

Israel began building the West Bank barrier in 2002. It is now about two-thirds complete.

It has been widely criticised internationally for looping into Palestinian areas around Israeli settlements, rather than following the Green Line, which marks the boundary that separates Israel from the West Bank.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that the barrier was illegal where it cut into the West Bank and called for it to be pulled down.

Earlier on Friday, a knife-wielding Palestinian was shot dead after he tried to stab people in a settlement in the south of the West Bank, the Israeli military said.

Palestinian police said they were still investigating the incident in Beit Hagai, but confirmed the dead man was Rabah Hejazi Sidr, 17.

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