Top Hamas official dies three weeks after ‘accidentally shooting himself in the head while inspecting his gun’

A high-ranking leader of Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has died three weeks after he accidentally shot himself and suffered a serious gunshot wound to his head.

Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassem, in a statement released on Tuesday, announced that Imad al-Alami, a former member of the political bureau of the movement, had died overnight. Qassem added that Alami had been unconscious since the January 9 accidental shooting.

Hundreds of Palestinians took part in his funeral procession Tuesday, including many senior Hamas leaders. “He will not replaced,” a member of the group’s Politburo, Husam Badran, wrote on Facebook. Alami was Hamas’ first liaison in Iran, and served in that country and Syria starting in the 1980s before returning to Gaza in 2012. He served as deputy Hamas leader from then until last year.

Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh together with a number of high-ranking figures of the movement took part in his funeral in Gaza on Tuesday afternoon, which drew large crowds of people. Earlier, Hamas Spokesman Fawzy Barhoum said in a statement that Alami had been wounded while “inspecting his personal weapon in his home and was in critical condition.”

Alami was born in Gaza City on February 16, 1956, and joined the ranks of Hamas at an early age. He was active in the movement’s media work since its foundation. Israel had accused him of planning multiple attacks.

In 2003 while believed to be based in the Syrian capital Damascus, the United States labelled him a “specially designated global terrorist.” He lived in exile for more than 20 years but returned to Gaza in 2012.

His home in Gaza was bombed by Israel during the most recent war between the two sides in 2014.

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