Palestinian Ambassador Killed in Explosion

PRAGUE (Reuters) -

The Palestinian ambassador to Prague was killed in an explosion at his residence on Wednesday that Czech authorities believe was probably an accident.

Czech police said no evidence had so far been found that indicated the explosion was an attack on the Palestinian envoy.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said ambassador Jamal al-Jamal had been trying to open a safe that was recently moved to his new home, and a Czech government source told Reuters that the explosion was probably caused by a security device on the unit.

It was unclear what that was. Some safes can be fitted with mechanisms designed to destroy secret documents in the event of the lock being tampered with. The Czech source said the government did not believe it was a terrorist attack.

Czech police said the ambassador died in the hospital of his injuries after the explosion on the morning of January 1 in the two-story suburban residence. No one else was injured, police said, although Jamal’s family was home at the time.

No signs of damage to the house were visible from the street.

“There has been a detonation of a so far unidentified explosive mixture,” police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova said. “The ambassador was … taken to hospital with serious injuries.”