Top Hamas Official in Gaza Dies After Mysterious Shooting

GAZA CITY (AP) -
Iran Hamas
Hamas terrorists at a rally in the Gaza Strip. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90, File)

The Hamas terror group said Tuesday that one of its senior officials has died, three weeks after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning his weapon in Gaza.

Spokesman Hazem Qassem said on Tuesday that Imad al-Alami had been unconscious since the Jan. 9 shooting.

Hamas initially hastily announced al-Alami died naturally but later said he shot himself while checking his weapon at his Gaza City home and was in critical condition.

The 62-year-old al-Alami held several key posts as a member of Hamas’s policy-making body and lived in Syria before returning to Gaza in 2012. He remained a prominent official though not a member of the current politburo. In 2016, al-Alami was reportedly selected as Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh’s designated successor.

After the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, he traveled to Turkey for treatment for an injury in which he lost a leg. Hamas said he was wounded in the war.

Outlawed by the U.S. in 2003 for his position in Hamas, al-Alami was considered one of the Gaza terror group’s most important assets, due to his extensive ties with the Iranian government – a major sponsor of Hamas – and his personal relationship with Hezbollah terror groups leader Hassan Nasrallah, himself a client of the Tehran regime.

The shooting incident fueled a variety of conspiracy theories within the Palestinian Authority, ranging from claims al-Alami was assassinated, to suggestions he may have tried to kill himself following years of serious health problems.