The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, says it has discovered an Israeli-commissioned network of spies and collaborators, a senior official says.
Some of the elements "were behind the assassination of leaders of the resistance," AFP quoted Hamas’ interior ministry spokesman, Ihab al-Ghussein, as saying on Thursday.
The discovery led to many arrests.
"The collaborators had a clear role during the last Israeli war on Gaza," dpa quoted al-Ghussein as saying, referring to the Israeli offensives at the turn of 2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.
"They were providing the Israeli Army with information about" the Hamas fighters and their homes, which were targeted during the war, he added.
"The relevant bodies have succeeded in acquiring dangerous confessions," added the spokesman, who released video recordings showing two of the detainees admitting to their spying for Israel and detailing the manner of their recruitment.
"The number of collaborators is not huge, but they are dangerous," he added.
A two-month deadline set by Hamas for the culprits to turn themselves in recently expired. The movement was then swift to place five suspected spies under arrest during overnight operations in the Gaza Strip.
Commenting on the arrests earlier this month, an unnamed Hamas official warned, "We are not going to show any mercy to those involved in spying on our people."
Hamas, which won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 and was forced to limit its power to Gaza a year later, has been defending the coastal strip’s 1.5 million- strong population against the Israeli acts of aggression.
Israel placed Gaza under an all-out siege in mid-June 2007, reacting to Hamas’ accession to power, claiming that the siege was aimed at preventing alleged security hazards to the region by the resistance movement.