Hamas-led gunmen in Gaza City executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel on Friday, a day after Israeli forces killed three Hamas brigade commanders.
Gunmen wearing masks and dressed in black shot seven of those condemned, whose faces were covered and hands bound, in front of worshipers emerging from the Omari Mosque, a.k.a the Great Mosque of Gaza, on Palestine Square in the Old City, in the first public executions in the Strip since the 1990s.
A further 11 were killed at an abandoned police station near Gaza City, Hamas security officials said.
“The resistance has begun an operation called ‘Strangling the Necks,’ targeting collaborators who aid the occupation, kill our people and destroy houses,” said Al-Majd, a website run by Hamas’s internal security service.
A so-called conviction letter signed by the “Palestinian Resistance” was posted on a wall near where the bodies of the alleged informants lay. The notice read: “They provided the enemy with information about the whereabouts of fighters, tunnels of resistance, bombs, houses of fighters and places of rockets, and the occupation bombarded these areas, killing a number of fighters... Therefore, the ruling of revolutionary justice was handed upon him.”
Earlier on Friday, after 11 suspected collaborators were shot dead at the abandoned police station, two bodies were seen being loaded onto an ambulance before Reuters journalists were told to leave the area.
The crackdown on suspected collaborators follows the killing of three of Hamas’s most senior military commanders in an Israeli air strike on Thursday. That attack depended on precise intelligence on their whereabouts.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights denounced the killing of Gazans by Hamas.
“We demand the Palestinian National Authority and the resistance [Palestinian armed factions] to intervene to stop these extra-judicial executions, no matter what the reasons and motives are,” Raji al-Surani, the chairman of the organization, said.
Israeli security sources said that the 18 people executed in Gaza had been in jail for collaboration for the last two years. Hamas took them out of jail to be executed, the security sources said.
They added that this was one more proof that Hamas was like ISIS.