April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The Islamic Resistance Movement ( Hamas) will continue executing collaborators and people convicted of serious crimes in the Gaza Strip, Hamas interior minister Fathi Hammad said Monday.

"Executions would be carried out against anybody trying to stand on the way of the people or trying to contact the Zionist enemy and convey information to it," Hammad told a press conference in Gaza city. "The government won't step back implementing executions against those who harmed our national interests."

On Thursday, a Hamas firing squad executed two Palestinians that a court found them guilty of collaborating with Israel, bypassing a constitutional requirement that the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) must ratify the death sentences.

Since President Mahmoud Abbas, whose forces control the West Bank only after Hamas drove them out of Gaza in 2007, had not approved the verdicts, the execution of the two has sparked angry protests by rights groups and some factions.

"They should focus on the tragedies that the collaborators caused to the victims' families," Hammad said, responding to critics.

Hammad was speaking before the house of Said Siam, the late Hamas minister of interior, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house he was hiding into during last year's Israel' "Cast Lead" military offensive on Gaza.


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