A co-founder of Hamas died Tuesday, three weeks after shooting himself in the face while looking down the barrel of a gun he was cleaning.
Imad al-Alami was “examining his personal weapon in his home” Jan. 9 when he accidentally pulled the trigger and put a bullet in his head, Hamas said Tuesday night in a statement to the Associated Press.
Al-Alami helped found the Gaza-based Palestinian group during the mid-1980s. The U.S., Israel, the European Union and others consider Hamas a terrorist organization responsible for waging several wars against Israel.
The group initially announced that al-Alami died of natural causes to dispel rumors he committed suicide or was murdered, but Hamas officials later begrudgingly admitted that he shot himself on accident.
Al-Alami, who lost a leg during a Israel-Hamas war in 2014, held several important administrative positions in Hamas’ policy-making body and lived in Syria until 2012. His death comes as the terrorist group comes under fire from Islamic State in Egypt.
An ISIS branch in the country has been escalating conflict with Hamas, calling on its radical followers to attack the group cracking down on Islamic militants in Gaza and for pursuing better relations with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.
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