Six men accused of being ‘Israeli spies’ were dragged through the streets of Gaza City and executed in front of a chanting mob today as Israel warned Palestinians to evacuate some areas of the territory in apparent preparation for a ground invasion.
Witnesses said the six were taken to an intersection in the north of the city where they were summarily shot for providing intelligence that helped Israel pinpoint key figures in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad targeted by their warplanes.
The names of the men are said to have been scrawled on the road after they had been questioned by Hamas security officials about who provided the ‘human intelligence’ necessary to pinpoint targets for ‘precision’ attacks that have 118 Palestinians – half civilians, including women and children, dead – in seven days of military operations.
Paraded: Palestinian gunmen ride motorcycles as they drag the body of a man, who was suspected of working for Israel
No respect for the dead: The killed ‘spy’ is dragged through the streets of Gaza City
Killed: Palestinian gunmen shot dead six alleged collaborators in the Gaza Strip who ‘were caught red-handed’, according to a security source quoted by the Hamas Aqsa radio
Hamas Aqsa radio quoted a security official as saying the men had been ‘caught red handed’ with ‘hi-tech equipment and filming equipment to take footage of positions.’
Gunmen chained the body of one of the alleged collaborators to a motorcycle and dragged it throughout the main streets of Gaza City in a warning to others who ‘betrayed’ Palestinians.
The executions came as Israel carried out more than 150 more strikes in Gaza and dropped leaflets in the heavily populated north and south of the city warning Palestinians to evacuate certain areas.
The leaflets include a ‘grid’ of streets to be cleared, adding : ‘The Israel Defence Forces are not targeting any of you and they do not want to harm you or your families. For your safety, you are required to evacuate your residences immediately and move towards central Gaza city.’
The move was seen as preparation for a possible land offensive but also a means as increasing pressure on Hamas to give ground in its demands over the terms of a ceasefire agreement being brokered in Cairo through Egypt.
Significantly, Egypt’s president Mohammed Mursi, who has been vocal in his support for the people of Gaza and whose Muslim Brotherhood was mentor to the founders of Hamas, predicted a breakthrough ceasefire could be reached tomorrow and that negotiations were yielding ‘positive results.’
Tied and towed: The body is dragged through the streets as the killers hold guns in the air
One final insult: The act of dragging the corpse along was meant to send a message to other ‘spies’
Dragged through the dirt: One of the killed six lays on the floor as shocked bystanders watch on
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to the region yesterday to meet with leaders in what was seen to be a key move by President Barack Obama to ensure Israel pulls back from a land offensive.
Mrs Clinton is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and Egyptian leaders in Cairo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel is exploring a diplomatic solution, but wouldn’t balk at a broader military operation.
‘I prefer a diplomatic solution, he said, ‘But if the fire continues, we will be forced to take broader measures and will not hesitate to do so.’
He added : ‘If a long-term solution can be put in place by diplomatic means, Israel will be a willing partner.’