Senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami, who is a key link between Gaza and Tehran, was shot in the head Tuesday morning, with the group’s spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum saying he accidentally discharged his own weapon while inspecting it.
According to Palestinian media reports citing medical sources, he is in critical condition and is being treated in the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Al-Alami, also known as Abu Hamam, was born in Gaza in 1956. He was one of the founders of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and served as the terror group’s main representative in Tehran for many years before moving to Damascus in 2008.
At the start of the Syrian civil war in 2012, he was the last Hamas leader to leave Damascus and return to Gaza, where he was quickly elected as deputy Hamas leader, a capacity in which he served until last year’s elections.
Al-Alami is unique among senior Hamas leaders for staying out of the press. He does not take part in press conferences nor is he active on any social media platform.
Al-Alami, who is a mechanical engineer by training, suffered serious leg injuries during the Israel-Gaza war in the summer of 2014, in circumstances that are not totally clear.
According to one claim, he was hurt when an elevator collapsed inside a tunnel in which senior Hamas members were hiding. Another rumor said he was injured by gunfire during a battle between Hamas activists. He was treated in Turkey.
Al-Alami was first deported from Gaza in 1991, after being arrested by Israeli security forces for carrying out terror activities for Hamas.
Hamas has said Iran is currently its leading military backer.