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Hamas court says six Gazans sentenced to death for collaboration with Israel

Palestinian demonstrators burn pictures of Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman who has resigned in protest at a Gaza ceasefire hailed as a victory by the territory's Islamist rulers Hamas
MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)

A Hamas military court in the Gaza Strip on Monday handed out thirteen sentences to Palestinians convicted of ‘collaborating’ with Israel, six of whom were sentenced to death by hanging or firing squad.

The sentences were a “clear message to the collaborators of the occupation that this (a death sentence or years of hard labor) is their inevitable fate, the Hamas interior ministry said.

Hamas Interior Minister Iyad al-Bazm told a press conference that Hamas security services were successful in thwarting a planned Israeli operation in Gaza. It is unclear if he is referring to the botched special forces operation that took place November 11 that left one elite Israeli commander and seven Palestinians dead.

.“We are still working on the security-related event east of Khan Younis (the Nov 11 Israeli special forces op) and a number of people have been arrested and are being investigated,” he said.

Six of the thirteen convicted for collaborating with Israel were sentenced to death, either by firing squad or by hanging, according to details published by Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

The defendants were found guilty of a variety of offenses connected to providing critical security information to Israeli agents in Gaza using mobile phones, social media, and coordinated drop points, according to the report.

SAID KHATIB / AFP

During the botched Israeli Defense Force (IDF) operation in Gaza earlier this month, the special forces entered Gaza through an official border crossing disguised as medical aid workers, according to a report in The Independent that quotes Hamas sources.

Using forged identity cards of actual Gaza residents living elsewhere in the 25-mile-long coastal enclave, the Israeli special forces team entered the Strip before eventually being discovered by Hamas security forces, according to the report.

Last week, the IDF announced it had launched two separate investigations into the botched operation that sparked the most severe escalation in violence between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza since the most recent war in 2014.

Hamas, which claimed that the Israeli mission had been intended to plant listening devices in its territory, last week published what it said were details of the raid including pictures of Israeli operatives who purportedly took part in it.

Re-publication of the Hamas-circulated details was barred by Israel’s military censor which offered no comment on their authenticity.

Hamas, meanwhile, has reportedly launched their own investigation into the incident which killed a senior member of its militant wing.

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