Hamas commander accused of gay sex is executed

Mahmoud Ishtiwi was killed by his own comrades, partly over accusations that he was gay

Mahmoud Ishtiwi was killed by his own comrades, partly over accusations that he was gay family of Mahmoud Ishtiwi

In a story that has riveted Palestinians like a telenovela, The New York Times reports, a top Hamas military commander has been killed by his own comrades amid accusations that he was gay (as well as a thief and a traitor).

Mahmoud Ishtiwi was from a highly respected family within Hamas, the political and military organization that governs the Israel-occupied Gaza Strip, and had played a large role in the 2014 war against Israel involving tunnels into the country. His family was venerated by Palestinians for having harbored Hamas leaders who were on Israel’s most-wanted list.

But, according to accounts, Ishtiwi confessed to having diverted money meant for weapons — possibly to pay or to keep quiet a man he allegedly had sex with. There were also rumors that Israel blackmailed him into giving up information to help a failed 2014 assassination attempt on Mohammed Deif, the commander in chief of Qassam, Hamas’ armed wing.

Qassam put out a statement in early February announcing Ishtiwi’s execution.

It is not the first time Qassam has killed its own, but it is the first time the killed man’s family has conducted a public outcry, decrying Hamas in front of its buildings and on Facebook. Ishtiwi’s mother even released a highly emotional video begging Qassam authorities to release her son so she could see him amid her suffering from cancer.

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