HamasIsrael news photo: MFA

Hamas has announced the end of a two-month period of leniency in which Gaza residents who helped Israel fight terrorism could turn themselves in without being killed. Now, the Gaza-based terrorist group has launched a campaign to hunt down suspected counterterror agents and execute them.

Over the past two months, several people guilty of “collaborating” with Israel by providing information on Gaza terrorist groups have turned themselves in, Hamas leaders say. Those who took the initiative in confessing will not be killed, they promise, rial and possibly prison time.

Senior Hamas leaders said last week that they would have “no mercy” once the two-month leniency period was over. “We gave them a chance to repent,” one said.

Hamas has executed several Gaza residents accused of passing information to Israel, including two men who were shot to death in April, shortly before the brief period of leniency was announced. An additional three men are currently on death row for allegedly assisting Israel.

The killings have been widely supported in Gaza, where 85% of Arabs say they support the execution of those who help Israel.

Providing information leading to the capture or execution of terrorists by Israel is a crime under the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority as well as in Gaza. While the offense carries a penalty of execution in PA as well as Gaza law, PA courts have refrained from sentencing convicts to death in recent years, preferring lengthy prison terms with hard labor instead.