Hamas executes three Palestinian ′collaborators′ | News | DW | 06.04.2017
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Hamas executes three Palestinian 'collaborators'

Hamas have hanged three men it accused of collaborating with Israel. The Islamist militant group executed the men amid a campaign encouraging any Israeli-recruited agents to turn themselves in.

Gaza's ruling Hamas movement executed three Palestinians on Thursday after they accused the men of collaborating with Israel.

The group carried out the executions after they vowed revenge for the mysterious killing of one of its commanders last month. Hamas blamed Mazen Faqha's death on the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and its Palestinian "collaborators".

Read: Hamas elects military hardliner to lead Gaza

The men, aged 32, 42 and 55, were hanged at an exercise ground inside a police compound, observed by senior Hamas officials, local security chiefs and a few journalists, Hamas said.

While the men, who have not been named, were not directly implicated in the March 24 killing of Faqha, Hamas accused them of past acts of "treason and collaborating." They were sentenced months ago for passing information about attack tunnels and other military details to Israel.

Qassam-Brigaden Parade in Gaza-Stadt (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Saber)

The military wing of the Hamas movement trains Palestinian Al Qassam fighters to prepare for any possible Israel attack.

Assassination accusations

Hamas has provided no evidence that Israel killed Faqha, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has countered the accusation by implying that Faqha may have been killed in an internal Hamas feud.

Israel has killed senior Hamas figures in the past and had accused Faqha of planning several deadly attacks against Israelis during the second Palestinian uprising of 2000 to 2005.

He was jailed in 2003, after Israel sentenced him to nine terms of life imprisonment for directing the deadly suicide bombings. But Faqha was one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel in 2011 in exchange for a single Israeli soldier.

The Islamist militant group has increased security checks and tightly restricted movement following Faqha's assassination, even stopping patients from using the sole crossing from Gaza into Israel to receive medical treatment, Human Rights Watch said.

The New York-based NGO also condemned Thursday's hangings.

"The death penalty is a barbaric practice," it said in a statement. "The abhorrent executions by Hamas authorities of three men in Gaza deemed to be collaborators project weakness, not strength."

"Hamas authorities will never achieve true security or stability through firing squads or by the gallows, but rather through respect for international norms and the rule of law."

An opportunity for clemency

The trials were conducted by Hamas-run security courts, and the convicted were executed after all legal procedures were exhausted, the Hamas interior ministry said.

"The military court in Gaza sentenced them to death by hanging, and the decision was upheld by each military appeals court and the high military court," it said.

Hamas has sentenced 106 people to death and executed more than 20 of them under its judicial system since 2007, when the group seized power from Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in bloody fighting. Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has offered other "collaborators" a chance to turn themselves in for more lenient punishment. The group vowed it would undertake "radical measures" against any Palestinians who "collaborated" with Israel and don't come forward.

"The doors of repentance will be open for one week, from Tuesday, April 4 to Tuesday, April 11," the interior ministry said.   

mcm/rt (AFP, AP)

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