The Palestinian ambassador to Prague, Jamal al-Jamal, was killed in an explosion at his residence on Wednesday in an incident which Czech police believe was likely an accident.
Jamal, who took up his post in the Czech capital in October, was trying to open a safe that had been recently moved from the embassy’s old offices when the blast occurred, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported, citing a foreign ministry statement. Police cordoned off part of the street and a half dozen police vehicles, fire trucks and two ambulances were on the scene.
“There is nothing suggesting that a terrorist act was committed,” police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova told reporters.
Among possible causes, she said, were that an explosive device, which might have been part of a security mechanism on the safe, went off for no clear reason or due to mishandling.
Some safes can be fitted with small charges to destroy secret documents in the event of the lock being tampered with. However, the Czech police appeared to leave open the possibility that the diplomatic mission might have been storing explosives.
The ambassador died of his injuries in hospital after the explosion on the morning of New Year’s Day in the two-storey suburban residence. No one else was injured, police said, although Jamal’s family was at home at the time. There were no signs of visible damage to the house from outside.
The Palestinian foreign ministry said it would send a team to Prague to help with the investigation.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-01