Gaza's Hamas rulers put to death 3 accused of killing member

Abdallah al-Nashar, 38, and Hisham al-Aloul, 42, were convicted of being his accomplices and "collaborating with the Zionist enemy".

Amnesty International said the court they were tried in "utterly disregarded international fair trial standards".

The executions took place in an open yard of Gaza's main police headquarters, witnessed by leaders from Hamas and other Palestinian factions, as well as heads of Gaza clans.

The death of Faqha, a shadowy senior figure in Hamas' military wing, shocked Hamas, which has ruled Gaza with an iron fist for the past decade.

Israel had sentenced Faqha to nine terms of life imprisonment for directing deadly suicide bombing attacks. Hamas said the killer used a weapon with a silencer, allowing him to escape undetected before Faqha's body was discovered an hour later.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview with Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper soon after Fuqaha's killing, said his death was part of an internal power dispute within Hamas.

Gazan rights organizations condemned the execution sentence, saying it needed a Palestinian Authority Presidential approval, namely that of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Rights groups have questioned the fairness of trials under the Hamas system.

Since taking over the Gaza Strip in an armed coup in 2007, Hamas has executed 28 people who were sentenced to death by its courts, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Hamas immediately blamed its arch-enemy Israel, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, and implemented strict border restrictions on those seeking to leave the Palestinian enclave. "Death as government-sanctioned punishment is inherently cruel and always wrong, no matter the circumstance".

  • Leroy Wright