Hamas executes 18 suspected informers

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Gaza official says some of those suspected of collaborating with Israel had previously been sentenced in local courts.

Hamas has killed 18 Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, a day after Israel killed three of the group’s top military commanders in an airstrike on a house in southern Gaza Strip, witnesses and a Hamas website said.

A Gaza security official said the first batch involved 11 people who were killed early on Friday at the Gaza City police headquarters.

Six more were killed later in the day in a public execution in a central Gaza square, according to a Hamas website and witnesses cited by Reuters news agency.

Three suspected collaborators were also killed on Thursday.

The victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black in front of a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque after prayers, witnesses and al-Majd, a pro-Hamas website, said.

The Gaza security official said the 11 men had previously been sentenced by Gaza courts, reported the Associated Press news agency.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the incident with reporters.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from West Jerusalem, said Israel’s intelligence services rely, in part, on informers to pinpoint the whereabouts of Hamas leaders.

“Israel has a long and successful history of recruiting collaborators and informers both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, and they do so through a variety of different means: sometimes it is financial inducements; other times it is blackmail, bullying, threats, promises [and]maybe intimidating family members,” Rowland said.

She said that by publicising the retribution brought down on the 18 people, Hamas was sending a deterrent to other Palestinians.

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