Israeli settlers set olive trees on fire in the village of Burin in West Bank, 29 July, 2011.
Israeli settlers have set olive trees in the West Bank village of Burin on fire, in another attempt to target a key product of the Palestinian economy.

On Friday, settlers torched the trees and later Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the fire trucks attempting to reach the scene, witnesses said.

The Palestinian Authority affairs official Ghassan Doughlas explained that the fire raged throughout the day as firefighters were unable to arrive at the scene, Ma'an News Agency reported.

Witnesses further said that the clashes between Israelis and the villagers erupted as the Israeli soldiers began firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said the soldiers had only used "regular riot dispersal means" to put an end to the clashes, stressing that they had not used live ammunition.

Israeli settlers have on many occasions targeted Palestinian olive trees. Olive oil is regarded as the backbone of the Palestinian economy since it is the second major export item in the occupied territories.

Approximately 10,000 olive trees are planted annually by Palestinian farmers in the occupied territories.