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Israeli policemen patrol in the grounds of a police station that police said, was stormed by hundreds of protesters during clashes which erupted overnight, in the Arab town of Kafr Qassem in central Israel June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A security guard shot and killed an Arab-Israeli citizen as hundreds of protesters stormed a police station in central Israel overnight and set fire to vehicles, police said on Tuesday.

The violence erupted after police officers in the Arab town of Kafr Qassem attempted to apprehend a suspect wanted for questioning, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

About 50 residents confronted the officers and hurled rocks at them, Rosenfeld added.

Hundreds of residents, some of them masked, later broke through the gates of the local police station and tried to enter the building, he said.

"The security guard at the police station felt his life was in danger and opened fire," Rosenfeld said.

He said one of the protesters was critically wounded and died in hospital.

Television footage distributed by the police showed rocks strewn along the road and three vehicles on fire.

Kafr Qassem's mayor, Adel Badir, said the guard had used excessive force. "I don't understand how the security guard could say he felt his life was in danger if he had police officers with him," Badir told Army Radio.

Badir said tensions with police have been high in recent weeks, because residents feel officers have been ignoring a rise in violent crime.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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