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Palestinians protest against Basil Araj's killing

Politician calls Basil Araj's death 'assassination', day after incident in Ramallah which also injured two Palestinians.

Protesters have marched in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank calling for justice after Israeli security forces killed a 31-year-old Palestinian activist.

The march came late on Monday, a day after Basil Araj was killed by Israeli troops at his home on the outskirts of Ramallah.

Two other Palestinians were wounded by gunfire in subsequent clashes with Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian hospital sources.

Seen as "close to Islamists", Araj had spent several months in a Palestinian Authority prison, according to a Palestinian security source.

His roots were in al-Walaja, a village in Bethlehem.

The Israeli police said on Monday that the security personnel were there to arrest Araj and later found two weapons on his property.

Israeli accounts disputed

In remarks on Twitter, Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesperson, said: "Palestinian terrorist killed in border police CT operation in Ramallah was planning an attack against civilians and security forces."

Another Israeli police spokesperson said Araj was "the head of a cell planning attacks against Israeli targets".

However, the Israeli accounts were disputed by Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian non-violence activist and the head of the Palestinian National Initiative political party.

Speaking by phone on Monday, he said Araj's death was "nothing but an act of extrajudicial killing and assassination".

"I visited the house where they claimed there was a fight and clash and what I found was the only side that was shooting was the Israelis," he said.

"If he had any chance to shoot, he would not have been able to shoot more than one bullet. The house was completely bombarded with Israeli bullets. The Israeli side is trying to claim there was shoot back."

Barghouti said it was "really amazing" that the Israeli army entered the centre of Ramallah, which is supposed to be under the Palestinian Authority's control.

"Usually the Israeli army claim that they inform before entering the area, but they came into the centre of Ramallah, which shows that they have full military control there," he said.

"This means that there is no safety or security for any Palestinian anywhere."

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