Hamas official 'critically wounded after shooting himself while cleaning weapon'

Initial reports, some by the group's official media, said Imad Al Alami had died of natural causes

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 23, 1999 shows Hamas member, Imad al-Alami, talking to journalists at a press conference held in the southern suburbs of Beirut. 
Alami, a senior Hamas figure, was shot in the head in Gaza and hospitalised in critical condition on January 9, 2018 in what officials said was an accident. Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum said in a statement Imad al-Alami, a former member of Hamas's highest political body, was shot while "inspecting his personal weapon in his home and is in critical condition".
 / AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH BARRAK

Hamas says one of its senior officials is critically injured after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning a firearm.

Initial reports, some by the group's official media, said Imad Al Alami had died of natural causes. But Hamas subsequently said he was wounded in a gun accident.

Mr Alami, 62 is a former member of Hamas's policy-making politburo and a senior official.

Israel exiled Mr Al Alami from Gaza in 1994. He spent most of his time in Syria before returning in 2012, after Hamas abandoned its longtime base in Damascus.

After Israel's 2014 war on Gaza, Mr Al Alami travelled to Turkey for treatment for an unspecified injury that Hamas said he had suffered during the war.

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