Imad al-Alami, talks to journalists at a press conference held in the southern suburbs of Beirut in 1999..
(photo credit: JOSEPH BARRAK / AFP)
Senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami died on Tuesday, three weeks after he allegedly shot himself in the head, the Hamas-linked al-Rai reported. He was 62.
Alami, who was also known as Abu Hamam, was regarded as a hard-liner and a supporter of Hamas’s ties with Iran.
The senior Hamas official died at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he was treated in intensive care for the past three weeks, the report said.
On January 9, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Alami shot himself in the head “while examining his personal weapon in his home.”
Hamas-run Interior Ministry Spokesman Iyad Bozm added that Alami “mistakenly” opened fire on himself.
However, some experts and commentators have questioned the veracity of Barhoum and Bozm’s accounts, speculating that a rival Hamas member may have shot him.
Hundreds of Gazans took part in a funeral procession for al-Alami in Gaza City including several top Hamas officials.
Speaking before Imadi’s remains at the Great Mosque of Gaza, Hamas Politburo Chief Ismail Haniyeh praised the senior Hamas official.
“Hamas was Abu Hamam and Abu Hamas was Hamas…He was able to deal with changes and transformations and prescribe [appropriate] policies and strategies for the different periods of time,” he said.
Hamas Politburo member Husam Badran spoke highly of Alami in a Facebook post, stating that “he will not replaced.”
Alami, a civil engineer by training, was a Hamas member since the late 1980s and was the first Hamas representative in Tehran.
In 2012, he returned to Gaza after spending a number of years in Damascus, Syria.
The following year, Alami was elected as deputy Hamas chief in Gaza, a position that he held until early 2017.