Hamas militants killed at least 18 people in Gaza Friday, as part of a new crackdown on those suspected of informing to Israel.
The group executions took place in two parts, with one occurring outside a mosque just as people were leaving Friday prayers. At least two of those executed are said to be women.
“The spies had their heads covered and were sitting by the wall outside the mosque,” a witness told the New York Times about the execution near the mosque. “There were about 20 masked gunmen in the area. One of them said loudly that the death sentence is going to be carried out against seven collaborators.”
These brutalizations come after several days of highly successful Israeli air strikes. Since the last cease-fire ended Tuesday, Israel has managed to kill three high-level Hamas leaders. The IDF also targeted the home of a fourth, Mohammed Deif, but only hit his wife and infant child.
The lucky streak must have Hamas leaders worried: Weeks of largely unsuccessful and costly hits in the first part of Operation Protective Edge drew criticism about the civilian toll of Israeli strikes. But since Hamas broke the last ceasefire by firing into Israel, the country’s retaliatory strikes have been much more precise.
What this translates to for Hamas, then, is that the leaks are coming from inside the house. And Hamas is showing that it will do anything to stop them.