Hamas commander accused of gay sex is executed

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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