Hamas kills suspected 'spies' in street

2012-11-21 09:02

Gaza City — Masked gunmen publicly shot dead six suspected collaborators with Israel at a large Gaza City intersection on Tuesday, witnesses said. An Associated Press reporter saw a mob surrounding five of the bloodied corpses shortly after the killing.

Some in the crowd stomped and spit on the bodies. A sixth corpse was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets as people screamed, "Spy! Spy!"

The Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, claimed responsibility in a large handwritten note attached to a nearby electricity pole.

Hamas said the six were killed because they gave Israel information about fighters and rocket launching sites. Hamas did not provide any proof of the alleged collaboration.

The killing came on the seventh day of an Israeli military offensive that has killed more than 130 Palestinians, both militants and civilians, as well as five Israelis.

Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes, targeting rocket-launching sites, weapons caches and homes of Hamas activists, in response to repeated Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Hundreds of Palestinian rockets have rained down on Israel in the past week.

Promises and blackmail

In selecting its targets for airstrikes, Israel relies on unmanned spy planes, or drones, but also on a network of Palestinian collaborators who feed information to their handlers from Israel's domestic Shin Bet security service.

Israeli defence officials say Palestinian informers have been recruited ever since it captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War. Some are recruited with promises of work permits or money, while others are blackmailed into collaborating.

There is broad consensus among Palestinians that informers for Israel deserve harsh punishment, and it is rare to hear someone speak out against killings of alleged collaborators.

Such public killings have been carried out in the West Bank and Gaza since the first intifada — or uprising — against Israeli occupation in the late 1980s.

Human Rights Watch and other international rights groups have condemned such extrajudicial killings, as has the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, a Gaza City-based group. Human Rights Watch says Hamas has also tortured suspected collaborators.

Tuesday's killings took place in Gaza City's Sheik Radwan neighbourhood.

Killed one by one

Witnesses said a van stopped at the intersection, where four masked men pushed the six accused informers out of the vehicle. Salim Mahmoud, aged 18, said the gunmen ordered the six to lie face down in the street and then shot them dead.

Another witness, 13-year-old Mokhmen al-Gazhali, said the informers were killed one by one, as he mimicked the sound of gunfire.

They said only a few people were in the street at first — most Gazans have been staying indoors because of the Israeli airstrikes — but the crowd quickly grew after the killings.

Eventually several hundred men pushed and shoved to get a close look at the bodies, lying in a jumble on the ground. One man spit at the corpses, another kicked the head of one of the dead men.

"They should have been killed in a more brutal fashion so others don't even think about working with the occupation [Israel]," said one of the bystanders, 24-year-old Ashraf Maher.

One body was then tied by a cable to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets. A number of gunmen on motorcycles rode along as the body was pulled past a house of mourning for victims of an Israeli airstrike.

Open co-operation

In Israel's last major Gaza offensive four years ago, 17 suspected collaborators who fled after their prisons were hit in airstrikes were later shot dead in extra-judicial killings.

During the current offensive, Tuesday's killings brought to eight the number of suspected informers being shot dead in public. On Friday, the body of one alleged informer was found in a garbage bin, and another was shot dead in the street. Hamas claimed responsibility for both killings.

Since seizing Gaza in 2007, Hamas has executed four informers by firing squad, and about a dozen more are on death row in Gaza.

During Israel's direct occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, some informers openly co-operated with Israeli forces. For example, one informer in the West Bank town of Jericho displayed a photograph of Israel's army chief at the time on the wall of his office, in a defiant display of his allegiance.

After Israel pulled back troops from parts of the West Bank, he and others were given refuge in Israel. Other informers were evacuated from Gaza after Israel withdrew in 2005, but Israel is believed to have maintained a network there.

Human rights groups have alleged, for example, that Gaza medical patients seeking treatment in Israel are sometimes approached by the Shin Bet at the crossing into Israel.

  • drake.murdoch.5 - 2012-11-21 09:16

    Hamas: Food, shelter & peace optional; oppression, torture & murder obligatory.

      ronald.utenhage - 2012-11-21 15:28

      Killing without trail and the right to defend?...Lets CONDEMN...wrong on any front!..Shame on them

  • christi.roestorff - 2012-11-21 09:19

    Such peace loving people! Clearly it will all be blamed on oppression and circumstance!

  • sharon.hamilton.737001 - 2012-11-21 09:25

    Hamas is in collaboration with israel. Whenever Hamas has scores or vendettas to settle with it's own kind it orchestrates hostilities with Israel so that it can then have a valid excuse to publically execute those with whom they disagree with, any ol' reason for Middle East "Jerry Springers" with a twist of sadism and death, despicable barbarians, heathens. Someone please turn that huge sand pit into a massive glass surfaced parking lot that "glows in the dark"

  • jairaj.sureschandra - 2012-11-21 09:28

    According to HAMAS, they were executed because, "they gave Israel information about fighters and rocket launching sites." So they admit to launching rockets ........ But does this justify Israel?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-21 09:51

      Does it justify Israel? The sheer aggression? Probably not. But with terrorists like this who one can compare to the Taliban who murder and drag people around - yes.

      grant.maserow - 2012-11-21 13:42

      Israel targets the sites that weapons are launched from. Hamas targets civilians and neighbourhoods. In fact, late this morning there was a suicide bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv in which civilians were targetted and seriously injured. I think Israel is justified.

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-11-21 09:28

    Hamas is not only good at international terrorism but domestic too. An organisation where conspiracy and anti-semetic propaganda are part of their charter , human rights are remarkably absent from any part of the group/area/territory then it would be highly irresponsible to have them take the lead in a already divided palestinian state.

  • neutedop.opinie - 2012-11-21 09:32

    Shooting men in front of a 13 year old boy....classy. Killing people, without providing evidence....clearly peace loving of the people spitting and kicking a corpse.....yes, they want this war to end. Dragging a corpse through the streets......yes, they want this war to end....and is nothing like animals.

  • mario.dippenaar - 2012-11-21 09:40

    Maybe this is what the Palestains want, I mean, they did democratically elect the Hamas into power. We should respect their decision, and let Hamas continue doing their 'charity' work.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-11-21 09:53

    These are the people who complain about a certain prison in Cuba? ~Vomit. Wipe mouth continue typing~ These are the people who are concerned about the innocent women and children being killed, while they kill in front of a 13 year old? ~Vomit. Wipe mouth continue typing~ These are the people who claim they have a blockade when they drive around on motorbikes? ~Vomit. Wipe mouth continue typing~ These are the people who pretend that life is sacred? ~Vomit. Wipe mouth continue typing~ These are the people who cry for rule of law and then summarily execute so called traitors. Without a court case? ~Vomit. Wipe mouth continue typing~ These are the people who perpetuate and participate in the death penalty and then cry about humanitarian treatment? ~Vomit. Wipe mouth continue typing~ ~Post Comment and leave website~.......

  • abuzakariyah.abrahams - 2012-11-21 11:05

    you ignorant, deaf, dumb and blind people dont have a clue why this war is happening!!! You dont qualify to comment on this matter

      PRQBR - 2012-11-21 11:54

      Ok Abuza, please enlighten this "ignorant, deaf, dumb and blind" person to why this war is happening? And please keep to facts and not theories.

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-21 12:54

      Oh dear, they took my comment down... I will repeat it for you; "Could it have something to do with the 12000 rockets aimed at civilians? Pakistan is calling"

      grant.maserow - 2012-11-21 13:48

      I know exactly why this war is happening. Muslim extremist terrorists do not want Jews to live in their homeland. They are trying to rewrite history, ignore the bible and archaelogical evidence linking Jews to Israel, the only Jewish country on the entire planet, which makes up 2% of the Middle East and is the only democratic country in the Middle East.

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-21 15:18

      @grant.maserow; and apparently the only country in the Middle East where porking children is considered illegal and depraved

  • cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-21 11:15

    Am I the only one who hears the deafening silence of the International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane? Can you imagine the international furor that would explode if this was done by Israelis?Kinda nails the ANC colours to the mast.

      mike.down.5492 - 2012-11-21 13:35

      But the hypocrisy has a deafening ring.

      bobo.jane.1 - 2012-11-21 14:13

      Maite had been warned not to make her report public, until she had spoken to the Jewish delegation on yesterday, she ignored it and spoke as an South African government Minister 2 days prior to their official meeting. This can only mean that she spoke in her personal capacity representing South Africa and it`s citizens. This is misconduct in the hihest form _ She needs to be removed from office or willingly stand down to join the SACP.

  • edmund.meyer.3 - 2012-11-21 11:58

    Sounds a lot like the Russian Revolution...

  • jason.hoff.18 - 2012-11-21 13:16

    Aha, censorship? i see NEWS24 took down my comment. you must be joking???? anything that dares to take issue with Hamas & their death-cult you censor?

  • matthew.mitchell.gordon - 2012-11-21 13:27

    This article is completely biased and unfair. Israelis do not take advantage of those who seek medical treatment. They are not occupiers! These brutal killings of their own people clearly the savageness of Hamas terrorists and yet you twist it around to put Israel in a bad light!??? Shame on you!!!

  • jason.hoff.18 - 2012-11-21 14:40

    CENSORED AGAIN!!!! Who is in charge of editorial at News24??

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-21 15:20

      Someone who doesn't like the word "Pakistan"?

  • matusowsky - 2012-11-21 17:59

    What f#%@ing barbarians.

  • brittwit1 - 2012-11-21 18:12

    Those who voted in a known jew hating terrorist organization to lead their country should not be amazed that their own people would start dieing in such horrible ways. Sow to the wind and reap the whirl wind from the people who worship their moongod and god of war who's idol is in mecca at the Hajj.

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