May 16, 2018

Hamas founder dies after accidentally shooting himself

A founding member of Hamas has died three weeks after he accidentally shot himself in the head while cleaning his weapon, a spokesman for the group said.

Imad al-Alami had been unconscious since the shooting at his home in Gaza City on January 9, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said on Tuesday.

Hamas had initially hastily announced al-Alami died naturally but later said he shot himself while checking his weapon.

He was visited in hospital by Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar and his deputy Khalil al-Hayya shortly after the shooting.

Al-Alami has for decades been a senior member of Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip. Israel has accused him of planning multiple attacks.

The 62-year-old held several key posts as a member of Hamas' policy-making bod.

In 2003 the United States declared him and five other Hamas leaders 'specially designated global terrorists'.

He lived in exile in Syria for more than 20 years but returned to Gaza in 2012.

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