Weapons Found in Palestinian Envoy’s Home

PRAGUE (Reuters) -

Still no explanation for explosion that killed him

Czech police found weapons at the Palestinian mission in Prague, a police spokeswoman said Thursday, a day after a safe exploded there, killing ambassador Jamal al-Jamal.

“Yes I can confirm that,” spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova told Reuters when asked about a report on the discovery of weapons. She gave no details about the type or quantity of weapons found.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic died in a blast that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years, officials said.

Ambassador Jamel al-Jamal, 56, was at home with his family at the time of the explosion, according to Palestinian Embassy spokesman Nabil El-Fahel. Al-Jamal was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital where he died, according to police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said no foul play was suspected, noting that the safe had been left untouched for more than 20 years.

The safe was recently moved from the old embassy building, but it had come from a building that used to house the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s offices in the 1980s.

“The ambassador decided to open it. After he opened it, apparently something happened inside [the safe] and went off,” Malki told The Associated Press.

It was not immediately clear how Malki knew the safe had been untouched for more than 20 years or why the safe would have contained something explosive.

“The safe was sitting neglected in one of the areas of the old embassy. It was in one of the corners. No one had touched it for 20 to 25 years,” Malki said. The embassy recently moved to a new complex.

“The ambassador wanted to know what is in the safe,” Malki said. “He opened it and asked his wife to bring a paper and a pen to write down the contents of the safe. She left him to bring [the] pen and paper. During that time, she heard the sound of an explosion.”

He said the ambassador had taken some of the contents out of the safe but it wasn’t immediately clear what was inside.

Zoulova said police were searching the apartment but declined further comment.
Martin Cervicek, the country’s top police officer, told Czech media that nothing was immediately found to suggest that the diplomat had been a victim of a crime.