Gaza: Hamas executes five Palestinians for murder and espionage

Gaza’s ruling Islamist Hamas movement announced Sunday that it had executed five Palestinians, including two for “collaboration” with Israel.

The executions for collaboration are the first carried out in the Palestinian coastal enclave in more than five years. Hamas’ Interior Ministry gave the initials and birth years of the five executed Palestinians, but not their full names. The two executed for “collaboration” with Israel were two men born in 1978 and 1968.

The older of the two was a resident of Khan Yunis in the south of the blockaded Gaza Strip. He was convicted of providing Israel with “information about men of the resistance, their residences and the location of rocket launching pads” in 1991, Hamas said.

The second was convicted of providing Israel with information in 2001 “that led to targeted attacks and the martyrdom of citizens” by Israeli forces, the statement added. The three others executed were convicted of murder, the statement said.

Hamas has sentenced numerous people to death for “collaboration” with Israel in recent years, but the executions announced Sunday are the first since May 2017, when three Palestinians – Ashraf Abu Leila, Hisham al-Aloul and Abdallah al-Nashar – were executed for their involvement in the assassination of a Hamas military leader. The men were executed in public, with hundreds of people attending the execution of the sentences.

While Hamas maintains the death penalty, Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank have not carried out such sentences in recent years. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, has joined the United Nations treaty against the death penalty. Abbas’ Fatah movement and Hamas have been divided since fighting broke out between the Palestinian factions in 2007.