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Three sentenced to death over killing of Hamas commander

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Tawfiq Abu Naim (2nd L), head of Hamas-run security forces in Gaza, speaks during a press conference on the killing of senior Hamas official Mazen Faqha, in Gaza City, on May 16, 2017. A military court in Gaza on May 15 held the first hearing of three men accused of assassinating the Hamas military leader last March. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

A court in the Gaza Strip on Sunday sentenced three men to death over the assassination of a Hamas military commander that the Islamist movement accused Israel of masterminding.

After a trial that lasted four days, two of the accused were sentenced to be hanged and one to be shot, the military court announced.

The assassination of Mazen Faqha in the middle of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in March shocked the Islamist movement and raised the possibility of a new round of violence with Israel.

Israel has not confirmed or denied the accusations.

In Sunday’s court ruling, the chief suspect, Ashraf Abu Leila, 38, was sentenced to hang after being convicted of murder.

The others were identified only as Hisham A., 44, who was also sentenced to hang, and Abdallah N., who was to face the firing squad. They were convicted of collaborating with Israel.

Faqha had been in charge of forming cells for Hamas’s military wing in the occupied West Bank.

He had spent years in an Israeli jail before being released as part of a 2011 prisoner exchange deal.

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