Hamas sentences 2 drug dealers to death in Gaza

GAZA CITY: A Hamas military court has sentenced two Palestinians to death for drug dealing, in the first-such case since the militant group seized the Gaza Strip a decade ago.

The Interior Ministry says Sunday that one would be killed by a firing squad. The other defendant was sentenced in absentia.

The ministry said security forces seized $2 million in illicit drugs in January alone, which was equivalent to what was seized in all of 2016. Most of the seized drugs were narcotics and cannabis.

Hamas has issued and implemented capital punishment mostly against people found guilty of murder or of collaborating with Israel. These verdicts were the first against drug dealers.

The defendants were previously given lighter sentences, but the ministry says the dealers "were not deterred."