Hamas Official Who Allegedly Shot Himself in the Head Dies of His Wounds in Gaza

Reports circulated in Gaza that Al-Alami was the victim of an assassination attempt, though Hamas denies the claim

Senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami in Lebanon, 1999.
JOSEPH BARRAK/AFP

Thousands attended the funeral of senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami in Gaza on Tuesday. Al-Alami died Tuesday morning from wounds he suffered three weeks ago in Gaza City when he reportedly accidently shot himself in the head.

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Al-Alami was wounded by a stray bullet to his head in his home while tending to his personal weapon, said Hamas spokesman in Gaza Fazi Barhoum in a statement at the time. He remained in critical condition in intensive care from the shooting three weeks ago until his death.

Reports circulated in Gaza that Al-Alami was the victim of an assassination attempt and Arab media reported that he was shot point blank by an unknown assailant. But Hamas has denied all these reports.

Al-Alami was a long-term fixture of Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, and was one of members of the founding generation of Hamas leaders. Al-Alami was involved in most of the major decisions made by Hamas over the years.

He has served as a Hamas representative in Iran and participated in all of Hamas’ talks with the international community, including the reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority, the cease-fire during the 2014 Gaza war and talks for  the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. He is known for operating under the radar, avoiding public appearances and the media.

Al-Alami sustained serious wounds to his leg in 2014 following an Israeli strike on his house. Hamas did not report it at the time and quietly facilitated his departure to Turkey, where he received medical care and convalesced for several months before returning to Gaza.