Hamas executes two Palestinians for working for Israel

Gaza, June 23 (IANS) The Hamas group, which controls the Gaza Strip, has executed two Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, the group said in a statement.

The two Palestinian "informants", aged 43 and 49, were hanged to death Saturday, Xinhua cited the statement by the interior ministry of the Hamas government as saying.

The two were accused of "spying for a hostile foreign party and attempted murder", the statement said.

The hanging took place "in accordance with our religion, Sharia and Palestinian law".

Hamas said the executions were aimed to "preserve the societal security".

In March, Hamas launched a drive to combat collaboration with Israel and promised amnesty to any informant who turns himself in willingly.

As many as 16 Palestinians have been executed in Gaza for spying and leaking information to Israel since Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

The group said Israeli airstrikes based on the leaked information have killed "a number of children, citizens and fighters" over the past 10 years.

Saturday's executions were the first in 2013.

Palestinian law stipulates that the head of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) approve the death sentences before they are implemented. However, Hamas implements the executions without the approval of West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas, whose forces lost control of Gaza in 2007.