Hamas gunmen killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque on Friday as worshipers were ending their midday prayers.
The masked gunmen were part of a hit team sent by Hamas that are executing so-called collaborators with Israel across Gaza. The seven Palestinians were part of a larger operation in which 18 men in total were killed by Hamas.
On Saturday, four more men were killed, bringing the total to 22.
According to witnesses and Hamas media, masked gunmen lined up the seven men on Friday in a side street adjacent to the mosque. The gunmen opened fire, killing the men.
One witness told AFP that six of the victims were grabbed from among hundreds of worshipers by men wearing the uniform of Hamas’s military wing.
The men were thrown to the ground while one masked Hamas gunman shouted, “This is the final moment of the Zionist enemy collaborators,” before opening fire.
Gaza security officials said that on Friday morning, 11 suspected informers were killed at Gaza City police headquarters. The men had been previously sentences by Gaza courts for allegedly helping Israel.
Responding to the execution, the Palestinian Authority blasted Hamas for the executions. According to the Ma’an news agency, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Authority, al-Tayyib Abd al-Rahim, said that the executions took place outside the Palestinian judicial system and were therefore never given a fair process.
“The executions were done in cold blood and according to Hamas law, which is: who is not with Hamas is against it,” he said.
Abd al-Rahim characterized the killings as “random executions of those who Hamas called collaborators,” saying that some of the men had been imprisoned for three years prior to their executions.
Under Palestinian law, any collaboration with Israel is punishable by death. However, since 2005, Abbas issued a moratorium on death sentences, which required his approval before being carried out.
The Secretary-General accused Hamas of punishing those who speak out against the terror organization, especially during the recent conflict with Israel. He claimed that Hamas “shot at the feet” of “many of those” who called on the group to accept a ceasefire, including placing “many” under house arrest.
“It is enough for our great people in the Gaza Strip that they suffer the Israeli siege and offensive,” Abd al-Rahim added.
Abd al-Rahim “rejected and condemned” the executions, calling them “provocative” in light of the recent unity agreement between the PA and Hamas.
He said that the executions show that Hamas “is not sincere in reconciliation and its commitments towards the unity government” and that the terror groups acts as an “authority” unto itself.