Hamas executes 'collaborators' as EU seeks new truce
By Adel Zaanoun, AFP August 23, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories -- Hamas gunmen executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel in the heart of Gaza City on Friday, as the deadly war between the Islamist movement and Israel reached day 46.
The Palestinian emergency services say another 75 people have died in Gaza since hostilities resumed on Tuesday following a nine-day truce. In Israel, two civilians have been wounded by direct rocket attacks.
European governments, meanwhile, are seeking U.N. action to stop the bloodshed after frantic Egyptian diplomatic efforts failed to secure a durable cease-fire to the worst fighting in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2000-05 intifada.
Israel has vowed to continue its campaign of air strikes until it can guarantee the security of millions of citizens who live in daily fear of rocket attacks, and Hamas is defiant over demands that the Jewish state end an eight-year blockade on the narrow Palestinian coastal enclave it controls.
At least 2,091 Palestinians have been killed since July 8, of whom the United Nations has identified 70 percent as civilians, and 67 people have died on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers.
In broad daylight outside Gaza's largest mosque, a day after Israel killed three of the movement's top militants, Hamas gunmen grabbed six men from among hundreds of worshippers spilling out onto the street, witnesses told AFP.
They were pushed to the ground. One of the masked men shouted: "This is the final moment of the Zionist enemy collaborators," then the gunmen sprayed them with bullets.
Earlier, another witness saw 11 people shot dead in a square near the remains of Gaza police headquarters, bombed by Israeli warplanes.
An 18th person was shot in front of bystanders in a separate incident nearby.
Air Strikes, Rocket Attacks
The Hamas-linked website Majd, said the 11 were killed after they "gave information to the Zionist enemy."
On Thursday, Majd said Hamas shot dead three other men and arrested seven for allegedly reconnoitering targets for Israeli strikes.
The Israeli military said on Friday it struck around 30 targets in Gaza since midnight as 45 rocket and mortar shells hit Israel during the same period.
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