Hamas authorities execute five Palestinians in Gaza

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GAZA — Gaza’s ruling Hamas Islamists executed five Palestinians on Sunday, including two accused of spying for Israel dating back to 2015 and 2009, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said.

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The dawn executions, by hanging or firing squad, were the first in the Palestinian territories since 2017. Past cases of capital punishment carried out in Gaza have drawn criticism from human rights groups.

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The ministry statement did not provide the full names of any of the convicted men. He said three had been convicted of murder. The two convicted spies, ages 44 and 54, had given Israel information that led to the killing of Palestinians, he added.

Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, which oversees the country’s intelligence services, declined to comment.

“The execution took place after the conclusion of all legal procedures. The decisions had been final, with mandatory implementation, after all convicts were granted full rights to defend themselves,” the statement said.

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Reuters could not immediately corroborate this.

Palestinian and international human rights groups have condemned the death penalty and urged Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited autonomy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to end the practice.

Palestinian law stipulates that President Mahmoud Abbas has the final say on whether to carry out executions. But he has no effective power in Gaza.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has condemned the executions by Hamas as a violation of Palestinian law. He said the move was also a violation of the Palestinian authorities’ international commitments.

Since Hamas took control of Gaza, its courts have sentenced around 180 Palestinians to death and executed 33 so far, PCHR said.

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