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'Israeli Collaborator,' 2 Others Hanged in Gaza

In the Gaza Strip, members of Hamas say they have executed three Palestinian men, one of whom was accused of "collaborating" with Israel.

Officials of Hamas, which controls the Gaza territory, say the three condemned prisoners - the alleged Israeli agent and two men accused of murder - were hanged at dawn Saturday at an unidentified "security center."

Aiding Israel is an offense punishable by death under the Palestinian administration, as is murder.  

Hamas said the three men all had been convicted and found guilty, but it gave no details of the proceedings against them.

The United States, the European Union and other nations list Hamas as a terrorist organization.  The militant group seized full control of Gaza in 2007 in a violent split with the more moderate Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank.  

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have agreed several times during the past year to end their disputes and form a unity government under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas.  He was elected president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005 and has remained in office since his term expired in 2009.

Under Palestinian regulations, any executions should be approved by Abbas, but Hamas rejects his authority and refuses such consultations.  The Palestinian Authority has not executed anyone since 2004, but the practice has continued in Gaza under Hamas control.

The accused Israeli collaborator who was killed Saturday is believed to be the first prisoner hanged for such crimes in about nine months.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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