Palestinian family says it killed relative suspected of spying for Israel

A Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip says it has killed a relative who allegedly helped Israel track down and kill three senior Hamas militants, including one of the man's own kinsmen. The Israeli military has declined to comment.

Barhoums are among Rafah's largest families, well known for closeness to Palestinian militant groups

Hamas militants march in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 12. Family members of a Palestinian man say they shot him after they were told by a militant group that he had provided information to Israel that was used to target Hamas fighters. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

A Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip said it has killed a relative who allegedly helped Israel track down and kill three senior Hamas militants, including one of the man's own kinsmen.

In a statement, the family of Ahmed Barhoum said it had shot him in the city of Rafah after being told by a militant group that Barhoum had provided information to Israel. This, the statement said, guided an Israeli airstrike during the 2014 Gaza war that targeted the Hamas militants.

"In light of our religious and moral commitment we have executed the collaborator Ahmed Barhoum after he was handed over by the resistance factions," the statement said, without giving the name of the militant group that had caught him.

The family said it had listened to a relative's confession and saw the evidence against him. The Barhoums are one of Rafah's largest families and well known for their closeness to Palestinian militant groups at odds with Israel.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates the small, impoverished enclave, issued a statement praising the Barhoum family's action as illustrating "its nobleness and deep affiliation with the (anti-Israel) resistance."

In light of our religious and moral commitment we have executed the collaborator Ahmed Barhoum after he was handed over by the resistance factions.- Family statement

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Over the years, Israel has established a network of contacts in the Palestinian territories, using a combination of pressure and sweeteners to entice Palestinians to divulge intelligence.

Hamas has sentenced 109 people to death and executed at least 25 in Gaza since 2007. Palestinian and international human rights groups have repeatedly condemned such use of the death penalty, and urged Hamas and its Western-backed rival based in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, to abolish it.
 
Israel withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, leading to a Hamas takeover two years later, but it continues to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank.