GAZA CITY Masked gunmen publicly shot dead six suspected collaborators withIsrael at a large Gaza City intersection Tuesday, witnesses said. An Associated Press reporter saw a mob surrounding five of the bloodied corpses shortly after the killing.
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. Hamas did not provide any proof of the alleged collaboration.
The killing came on the seventh day of an Israeli military offensive that has killed more than 130 Palestinians, both militants and civilians, as well as five Israelis. Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes, targeting rocket-launching sites, weapons caches and homes of Hamas activists, in response to repeated Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Hundreds of Palestinian rockets have rained down on Israel in the past week.
In selecting its targets for airstrikes, Israel relies on unmanned spy planes, or drones, but also on a network of Palestinian collaborators who feed information to their handlers from Israel's domestic Shin Bet security service.
Human rights groups have alleged, for example, that Gaza medical patients seeking treatment in Israel are sometimes approached by the Shin Bet at the crossing into Israel.
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