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Hamas hangs three Gaza prisoners

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Authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza have executed three prisoners, including a Palestinian convicted of collaborating with Israel, an interior ministry statement has said.

The ministry said on Saturday that the three men were hanged in a security centre in Gaza City, however, it did not give the men's names, ages or any other information.

It denounced the man who helped Israel as a traitor, whereas the other two were deemed complicit in murder.

It was the first time this year that the Islamist movement had carried out an execution of someone accused of collaborating with Israel.

The last time the death sentence for aiding Israel was carried out was in July last year, when two people were executed.

Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.

All execution orders must be approved by the Palestinian president before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognises the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009.

Human rights groups have repeatedly condemned the use of the death penalty in Gaza, but Hamas has rejected such criticism.

"The rulings were carried out ... after the defendants had been given their full right to defend themselves," the interior ministry said.

The executions were carried out "in accordance with our religion, rulings of the Palestinian law and in preserving the rights of citizens and achieving the security of the community", the statement said.

Israeli security forces routinely use Palestinian informers to thwart attacks.


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