GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers say they intend to execute residents convicted of murder even without the needed approval of the Palestinian president.
Hamas lawmakers "endorsed" 13 death sentences Wednesday after mounting pressure from victims' families. West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to approve the Hamas verdicts and the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights says he is deeply concerned over the imminent executions.
The Palestinians have been divided since Hamas ousted Abbas' forces from Gaza in 2007. Despite a 2014 reconciliation agreement, Hamas remains in control of Gaza.
During a 2014 war with Israel, Hamas carried out the extrajudicial killings of 23 alleged spies. It also has executed 19 people convicted of murder or collaboration with Israel since 2007.