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  • 22 August 2014, 14:50

Hamas Kills 18 Suspected Israeli Informers

Hamas has killed 18 people suspected of being informers for Israel.

The group said 11 were killed by firing squad at the Gaza City police headquarters following sentencing by courts.

Hamas media then reported that seven more alleged informants had been targeted by masked gunmen near a mosque.

One onlooker, Ayman Sharif, said dozens of people witnessed the shootings.

Mr Sharif added that a piece of paper was placed above the head of each victim, with their initials and alleged crime.

Two of those killed were women, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, which called for an immediate halt to what it said were "extra-judicial executions".

The Al Majd website, which is close to the Hamas security services, said suspects would now be dealt with "in the field" rather than in the courts in order to create deterrence.

The deaths come a day after Israel killed three top Hamas commanders - Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al Attar and Mohammed Barhoum - in an airstrike on a house in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israel's intelligence services rely, in part, on informers to pinpoint the whereabouts of Hamas leaders.

Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have reportedly killed four Palestinians - including two at the Nusseirat refugee camp.

The Israeli Defence Force said it had launched about 20 airstrikes on targets inside Gaza on Friday. It also claimed at least 26 rockets had been fired at Israel.

One rocket hit a synagogue in the Israeli city of Ashdod, wounding at least three people, according to police.

Egyptian-mediated talks to end the weeks of fighting collapsed on Tuesday when violence broke out after 10 days of relative calm.

Hamas has demanded a lifting of the border closure imposed by Israel and Egypt after it took control of Gaza in 2007.

Israel said the latest strikes were in response to a resumption of Hamas rocket fire.

Gaza officials say more than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict began on July 8.

Some 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have also been killed.

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