Hamas gunmen shoot dead 18 accused of collaborating with Israel

BY Anya van Wagtendonk  August 22, 2014 at 11:08 AM EST
File photo of masked members of the Islamist Hamas movement demonstrating against Israel in Gaza City on Oct. 25, 2009. Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

File photo of masked members of the Islamist Hamas movement demonstrating against Israel in Gaza City on Oct. 25, 2009. Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Gunmen wearing masks and Hamas uniforms publicly executed 18 Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel on Friday, in what one pro-Hamas website claims will be the beginning of an anti-informant campaign.

Eleven people were executed in an abandoned police station outside of Gaza City, according to Hamas sources. Seven others, their faces covered and hands bound, were fatally shot outside a mosque by a busy public square.

A group calling themselves the “Palestinian Resistance” posted a notice nearby accusing the dead of collaborating with Israel.

“Therefore, the ruling of revolutionary justice was handed upon” them, the letter read.

And a posting on a Hamas-affiliated website said these killings marked the commencement of an anti-spy operation called “strangling the necks.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza condemned “extra-judicial executions” by armed factions in a statement.

The executions took place one day after an Israeli airstrike killed three senior Hamas leaders, their highest-ranking targets in six weeks of war.