The Hamas movement governing the Gaza Strip says it has executed five Palestinians, including two for “collaboration” with Israel.
The executions on Sunday were the first carried out in the coastal enclave for more than five years.
“On Sunday morning, the death sentence was carried out against two condemned for collaboration with the occupation [Israel] and three others in criminal cases,” Hamas said in a statement.
The statement went on to say the defendants had previously been given “their full rights to defend themselves”.
Hamas’ interior ministry provided the initials and years of birth of the five executed Palestinians, but did not give their full names.
The two executed for collaboration with Israel were two men born in 1978 and 1968, it said.
The older of the two was a resident of Khan Yunis in the south of the blockaded Gaza Strip. He was convicted of supplying Israel in 1991 with “information on men of the resistance, their residence … and the location of rocket launchpads”, Hamas said.
The second was condemned for supplying Israel in 2001 with intelligence “that led to the targeting and martyrdom of citizens” by Israeli forces, the statement added.
The three others executed had been convicted of murder, it said.
First executions in years
Hamas has sentenced numerous people to death in recent years for “collaboration” with Israel, but the executions on Sunday were the first carried out since May 2017.
Three Palestinians – Ashraf Abu Leila, Hisham al-Aloul, and Abdallah al-Nashar – were executed then for their involvement in assassinating a Hamas military leader.
The men were publicly executed with hundreds of people allowed to watch the sentences being carried out.
They had been arrested just weeks earlier for the killing of Mazen Faqha, who was allegedly shot dead on behalf of Israel.
While Hamas keeps the death penalty on the statute books, Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank have not carried any out in recent years.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, seated in the West Bank city of Ramallah, has signed up to the United Nations’ treaty opposing the death penalty.
Abbas’s Fatah movement and Hamas have been divided since fighting broke out between them in 2007.
The Palestinian Authority operates in the West Bank, home to nearly three million Palestinians who live alongside 475,000 Israeli settlers.
Hamas, meanwhile, rules over 2.3 million Palestinians living under a crippling Israeli-led blockade for 15 years.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES