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One day after Israel killed three top Hamas commanders, the radical group executed 18 Palestinian men it had suspected of collaborating with Israel. From the Associated Press report:

A witness and Hamas media say that masked gunmen have killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque as worshippers were ending midday prayers."

According to Hamas, another 11 men were shot to death  at the police headquarters in Gaza City after being sentenced to death in Gaza courts. As Globe and Mail reported:

The Hamas-run website Al Rai said 11 people were killed by firing squad and warned that “the same punishment will be imposed soon on others.”

The often-public deaths of informants or so-called collaborators are a routine part of life in Gaza, although instances greatly increase during times of heavy conflict. 

Back in 2012, following the last conflagration with Israel in Gaza, Hamas executed a number of Palestinians it had accused of giving up valuable intel to the Israelis. As with today's killings, the men are executed publicly as a warning not to cooperate with Israeli intelligence efforts. 

Writing about six Palestinian men who suffered a similar fate in 2012, the AP described the disturbing scene:

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."

As with Friday's executions, the 2012 shootings happened in the midst of an ongoing battle between Israel and Hamas. In Fridays's fighting, Israel has reportedly killed four Palestinians in airstrikes on Gaza as Hamas and other groups continue to fire rockets into Israel, including the targeting of Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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