Six Israeli ‘spies’ executed, Motorbike gang drags one bloodied victim through the streets
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.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
DEADLOCK: BUT WHAT DO ISRAEL AND HAMAS WANT?
Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have staked tough, hard-to-bridge positions, and the gaps fuel the threat of an Israeli ground invasion.
The content of the Egyptian plan is unknown, but both Israel and Hamas have presented conditions and Egyptian intelligence officials are meeting representatives from Israel and Hamas separately.
Israel – concentrating on arms and weaponry demands
Israel demands an end to rocket fire from Gaza and a halt to weapons smuggling into Gaza through tunnels under the border with Egypt.
It also wants international guarantees that Hamas will not rearm or use Egypt’s Sinai region, which abuts both Gaza and southern Israel, to attack Israelis.
Hamas – wants attacks halted and restrictions lifted
Hamas wants Israel to halt all attacks on Gaza and lift tight restrictions on trade and movement in and out of the territory that have been in place since Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007.
Israel has rejected such demands in the past.
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.’
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.’