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A senior Hamas official and one of the Palestinian terror group’s founding fathers has died after suffering a head wound in what reports are describing as an “unexplained shooting”. Hamas announced that Imad al-Alami died Tuesday after being unconscious since a January 9 mysterious incident said to have occurred at his Gaza City home, which sparked widespread speculation over what happened.

Fueling the speculation was a hasty Hamas statement released on January 9 which initially claimed he had died of “natural causes” but a subsequent statement was quickly issued saying he accidentally shot himself in the head while “inspecting his personal weapon in his home and is in critical condition.” The 62-year old Alami, who also went by Abu Hamam, had been in critical condition in a Gaza hospital for the three weeks before his death.

Alami was classified as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the US in 2003 after spending a career holding key posts within Hamas’ policy-making body, which included years heading up Hamas headquarters-in-exile offices in Damascus, before returning to the Gaza strip in 2012. He also oversaw Hamas military operations in the West Bank during his time in Syria.

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More significant, however, is that he was among the most internationally connected of Hamas’ founding members, having maintained extensive ties with Iran – a major financial sponsor and weapons supplier to Hamas – and with a close personal relationship with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. Alami was further widely acknowledged to be in line as the designated successor to current Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh and was active in operations as late as 2014, when he was seriously wounded – reportedly by an Israeli airstrike during Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ – which resulted in the loss of one of his legs. – Zero Hedge

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