Hamas said it had executed a Palestinian man in Gaza Wednesday despite appeals from human rights groups not to hang him because he was under 18 when one of two murders for which he was convicted occurred.

Hani Abu Eleyan, 28, was the 17th Palestinian executed by Hamas since it seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. At least eight others were killed as alleged spies for Israel.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said Eleyan was convicted of two murders, one in 2000, involving the rape and killing of a minor, and another in 2009. Human Rights Watch and other groups had urged Hamas to halt the use of capital punishment and in Eleyan's case, had said he was 14 when the first crime occurred. They said he had confessed under torture.

Hamas denies the use of torture in interrogation centres and said Eleyan had been accorded the right to a lawyer before the verdict was issued.