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Hamas kills 18 suspected spies to deter leaks

  • A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • A Palestinian boy, along with supporters of Hamas, holds a representation of a rocket as others shout slogans to protest against Israel and to support people in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    A Palestinian boy, along with supporters of Hamas, holds a representation of a rocket as others shout slogans to protest against Israel and to support people in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • A Palestinian boy holds a representation of a rocket as supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

    A Palestinian boy holds a representation of a rocket as supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

  • Palestinian supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

    Palestinian supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

  • Palestinian supporters of Hamas hold representations of rockets as others chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

    Palestinian supporters of Hamas hold representations of rockets as others chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

  • Palestinian supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

    Palestinian supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

  • Palestinians gather around the rubble of a destroyed house following Israeli strikes in the Rafah refugee camp, Southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinians gather around the rubble of a destroyed house following Israeli strikes in the Rafah refugee camp, Southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Palestinians receive treatment from their injuries at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.  Friday’s escalation in the fighting comes three days after the Israel-Hamas truce talks collapsed in Cairo. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinians receive treatment from their injuries at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Friday’s escalation in the fighting comes three days after the Israel-Hamas truce talks collapsed in Cairo. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Palestinians search the site of the wreckage of a vehicle following an Israeli airstrike at the main street in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. At least two were killed in the car outside a grocery shop, and a few others were wounded by an Israel airstrike on a Gaza City street, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    Palestinians search the site of the wreckage of a vehicle following an Israeli airstrike at the main street in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. At least two were killed in the car outside a grocery shop, and a few others were wounded by an Israel airstrike on a Gaza City street, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo / Adel Hana)

    A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo / Adel Hana)

  • A Palestinian protester throws a stone towards Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

    A Palestinian protester throws a stone towards Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

  • A Palestinian protester runs away from Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

    A Palestinian protester runs away from Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

  • Palestinians walk under the fallen minaret of the Al-Sousi mosque that was destroyed in an Israeli strike at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    Palestinians walk under the fallen minaret of the Al-Sousi mosque that was destroyed in an Israeli strike at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • A Palestinian boy, along with supporters of Hamas, holds a representation of a rocket as others shout slogans to protest against Israel and to support people in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    A Palestinian boy, along with supporters of Hamas, holds a representation of a rocket as others shout slogans to protest against Israel and to support people in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
  • A Palestinian boy, along with supporters of Hamas, holds a representation of a rocket as others shout slogans to protest against Israel and to support people in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • A Palestinian boy holds a representation of a rocket as supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
  • Palestinian supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
  • Palestinian supporters of Hamas hold representations of rockets as others chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
  • Palestinian supporters of Hamas chant slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
  • Palestinians gather around the rubble of a destroyed house following Israeli strikes in the Rafah refugee camp, Southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Palestinians receive treatment from their injuries at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.  Friday’s escalation in the fighting comes three days after the Israel-Hamas truce talks collapsed in Cairo. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
  • Palestinians search the site of the wreckage of a vehicle following an Israeli airstrike at the main street in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. At least two were killed in the car outside a grocery shop, and a few others were wounded by an Israel airstrike on a Gaza City street, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
  • A ball of fire rises following an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The airstrike came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay a ``heavy price’’ for the killing of a 4-year-old boy by a mortar shell fired from Gaza earlier Friday. (AP Photo / Adel Hana)
  • A Palestinian protester throws a stone towards Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
  • A Palestinian protester runs away from Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
  • Palestinians walk under the fallen minaret of the Al-Sousi mosque that was destroyed in an Israeli strike at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
  • A Palestinian boy, along with supporters of Hamas, holds a representation of a rocket as others shout slogans to protest against Israel and to support people in Gaza, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Gaza militants yesterday gunned down 18 alleged spies for Israel in an apparent attempt to plug security breaches and deter others, a day after Israel killed three top Hamas military commanders in an airstrike likely guided by collaborators.

In one incident, masked gunmen lined up seven men, their heads covered by bags, along a wall outside a Gaza City mosque and shot them to death in front of hundreds of people, witnesses said. A note pinned on the wall said they had leaked information about the location of tunnels, homes of fighters and rockets that were later struck by Israel.

In Israel, a 4-year-old boy was killed when a mortar shell hit two cars in the parking lot of Nahal Oz, a small farming community near Gaza. Five Israelis were hurt, one seriously, in several rocket strikes, the military said. One rocket damaged a synagogue.

The child’s death was bound to raise pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from an increasingly impatient public to put an end to rocket and mortar fire from Gaza – something Israel’s military has been unable to do after 46 days of fighting with Hamas.

Netanyahu’s office said he expressed his condolences and vowed that Hamas would pay a “heavy price.”

The Israeli military said in a statement the deadly mortar shell had been fired from next to a U.N. school currently serving as a shelter for displaced Gazans, but then retracted its claim and said the facility in question was run by Hamas. Israel has repeatedly said Hamas uses schools, mosques and residential areas as cover from which to stage attacks, putting civilians at risk by drawing Israeli retaliation.

Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency UNRWA, said the agency strongly denied any claim that one of its facilities had been used in the deadly attack.

By early evening, Gaza militants had fired at least 117 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, while Israel carried out at least 35 airstrikes in Gaza, the military said.

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