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(photo credit: AP [file])
A 36-year-old Palestinian man who was killed on Friday during a clash with security forces near the West Bank village of Nil'in was a Hamas member who was throwing rocks at soldiers, an army source told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday.
A group of around 200 people, made up of Palestinians and left-wing activists from Israel and abroad, staged a weekly demonstration on Friday against the security fence being constructed near Nil'in.
The protest quickly turned violent, the army said, adding that a number of demonstrators, some of them masked, began attacking Border Police officers on the scene with rocks, and attempted to damage the security fence being built in the area.
Aken Sarur, of Nil'in, was wounded during the clash and was rushed to a Ramallah hospital, where he died of his wounds. The army said the incident was under investigation, adding it was to soon to say how Sarur was killed. Palestinian sources said four other demonstrators were lightly wounded in the incident.
"I can say that Sarur was known to the IDF, and he has been arrested in the past. He was a Hamas member," the army source added. "The investigation is ongoing and we will release further details as we get them."
The source said it was too soon to confirm a report which appeared in the media, which said that border policemen opened fire on Sarur using a low-velocity gun specially designed to disperse riots.
But according to Jonathan Pollak, of Anarchists Against the Wall, clashes between the IDF, residents of Nil'in and activists began earlier in the day when the IDF tried to occupy a home in the village.
He accused the IDF of using sniper fire against the demonstrators who headed to the "wall" after praying at the mosque. Sarur was killed by sniper fire as he tried to evacuate one of the wounded demonstrators, said Pollak. He was not throwing stones at the time he was shot, said Pollak, who added it was possible he had thrown stones earlier.
"Even if he was throwing stones, since when do people who throw stones get the death penalty? We are talking about a sniper who was 40 meters away barricaded behind a wall and standing there very coolly, and aiming and taking a shot," said Pollak.
He added that Sarur was the fifth person killed by the IDF in Nil'in this year.
In September 2008, the IDF arrived at Sarur's home to take him into custody for attacking soldiers. During the raid, Sarur's mentally disabled brother was accidentally shot and seriously wounded by soldiers.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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