Middle East

Gaza: Hamas says 18 suspected informants executed

A Hamas militant grabs a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel, before executing him in Gaza City Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Images emerged of some of the suspected collaborators being led to their executions

Hamas sources in Gaza say 18 people suspected of collaborating with Israel have been executed.

The killings came after an Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas leaders on Thursday. Two more Palestinians died in overnight strikes.

Israel says there has been fire from Gaza - including a strike on Friday that killed a four-year-old boy.

More than 2,070 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed in six weeks of fighting.

A Thai national in Israel was also killed by rocket fire early on in the conflict.

The UN says most of the Palestinian fatalities have been civilians. Most of the Israeli deaths have been those of soldiers.

The four-year-old Israeli boy was killed in a mortar attack on a southern village along the Gaza border, officials say.

Speaking after the death was confirmed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas would "pay a heavy price for the crime".

Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza resumed on Tuesday, scuppering efforts in Cairo to achieve a long-term ceasefire deal.

Hamas has insisted on a lifting of the economic blockade of Gaza as part of any longer-term deal.

Israel has vowed to pursue its campaign until "full security" is achieved through the disarmament of Hamas and other groups in Gaza.

'Forced by circumstances'

Hamas sources said Friday's executions had been carried out by what it called the Resistance, which may suggest the involvement of other armed Palestinian factions.

Hamas officials told Reuters that the first 11 executions were carried out at an abandoned police station.

Witnesses said another seven people were shot by men in Hamas uniforms outside the Al-Umari mosque in central Gaza.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Israeli tanks have held their position just outside the Gaza Strip

After the first 11 executions, Hamas warned that "the same punishment will be imposed soon on others".

It added that "the current circumstances forced us to take such decisions", suggesting a link between the executions and the killing of the three senior Hamas leaders.

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