Gaza City: A senior figure in Palestinian Islamist group Hamas was hospitalised in critical condition Tuesday after suffering a gunshot wound to the head in what officials said was an accident.
Imad al-Alami, a founding member of Hamas and former member of its highest political body, was wounded while “inspecting his personal weapon in his home and is in critical condition”, Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum said in a statement.
There was no independent confirmation of that account.
Alami was rushed to hospital in Gaza City, where he was visited by Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar and his deputy Khalil al-Hayya, an AFP photographer said.
Hayya told journalists the version of events described in the statement was based on “testimony of family and witnesses at home”.
He said doctors had operated on him but he remained in critical condition.
Alami has for decades been a senior member of Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip.
Israel has accused him of planning multiple attacks.
In 2003 the United States declared him and five other Hamas leaders “specially designated global terrorists”.
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.
Israel has previously assassinated senior Hamas leaders, including the group’s wheelchair-bound founder Ahmed Yassin.
However, radical Islamist groups have targeted Hamas, with an Islamic State affiliate recently calling for attacks against them.
In October 2017 the head of security in Gaza was injured in an apparent assassination attempt, with a small explosion in his car.
In March a senior party leader, Mazen Faqha, was shot dead inside Gaza, with Hamas accusing Israel of responsibility. – AFP