'Collaborators' killed by Palestinian gunmen

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The Independent Online

Ten Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel were killed in the West Bank on Monday. Nine were prisoners being held in Palestinian jails.

Ten Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel were killed in the West Bank on Monday. Nine were prisoners being held in Palestinian jails.

Security sources believe that militants might be killing the suspected collaborators to keep the accused from being freed by Israeli forces that have been moving into the West Bank over the past four days.

In the West Bank town of Tulkarem, gunmen entered an apartment where seven suspected collaborators were being held by military intelligence. They took the prisoners into the street, where they were shot.

The seven men had been held in the apartment for about three months since the Israeli military demolished the Tulkarem prison. The men had been prisoners for between six months and one year.Earlier in the West Bank town of Qalqilya on Monday, the bodies of Iyad Abu Ishab, 20, and Walid Radwan, 22, were found riddled with bullets in a side street.

Palestinian security sources said the two men, who had been arrested and charged for collaborating more than a year ago, were killed by their prison guards. It was not immediately known whether their bodies were dumped in the street after they were killed in jail.

The body of another suspected collaborator, Mahmood Rahamie, 21, was found in Bethlehem near Manger Square, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

In a statement to Palestinian security, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade said Rahamie had been killed after he was caught sending information to the Israelis through the Internet and e-mail.

About two weeks ago, police stopped attempts to hang the body of an accused Palestinian collaborator from a rooftop overlooking the square in Bethlehem.

The incident followed the first public display of the corpse of an accused collaborator, whose body was strung up from a monument in the center of the major West Bank city of Ramallah a few days earlier.

The last month has seen a dramatic increase in the deaths of suspected Palestinians killed for being suspected collaborators. Ten suspected collaborators were killed in March, compared with about 24 since the fighting with Israel began 18 months ago.

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