Palestinian ambassador dies after explosion

Jamal Al Jamal was taken to the Central Military Hospital, where he later died due to his injuries.
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Police: Inexpert manipulation of safe kills Palestinian ambassador

Prague, Jan 1 (ČTK) — An explosion on the premises of the future Palestinian embassy in Prague-Suchdol killed Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic Jamal Al Jamal, 56, but Poice President Martin Červíček said this was not an act of terrorism.

According to the police a safe in the sitting room of the ambassador's flat exploded in an inexpert manipulation.

Červíček said on commercial television channel Nova the police will look into why explosives were on the embassy's premises where they should not have been.

Prague Police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulová said a security system may have exploded on the safe.

The safe was strongly damaged in the explosion and that is why the police continue an investigation on the spot.

The police temporarily evacuated some 50 locals from the embassy's surrounding. They could return at about 20:00 CET because the police did not find other risky objects.

Zoulová said the evacuated people included one wheel-bound person and that the Prague City Hall sent two special buses for them.

The Associated Press news agency quoted Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki as saying the safe that exploded was not opened for minimally 20 years.

He said it was long placed in the old Palestinian embassy in Prague and that it was relocated to the new buildings to be used by the embassy.

After the explosion Jamal was taken to the Central Military Hospital in Prague.

Daniel Langer, chief surgeon of the Central Military Hospital in Prague, where Jamal Al Jamal was rushed, told public broadcaster Czech Television (ČT) that the ambassador suffered chest, stomach and head injuries that were not compatible with life.

The ambassador's wife and son escaped unscathed. The woman suffered a shock after the explosion and was taken to the Prague-Motol Hospital, but she has been released already.

Zoulová said the police still work with several versions of the case.

Červíček said the police checked two suspicious object during the search of the buildings. One of them was another safe, but none of the objects was dangerous.

He would not say whether the police found other weapons or explosives in the buildings.

Zoulová said it is not possible to say when the investigation will end.

The ambassador officially assumed the post on Oct. 11, 2013, when he handed his credentials to President Miloš Zeman.

The building, in which the blast occurred, is a new one and it has not yet been approved.

The ambassador moved to the residence which is to be a new seat of the Palestinian embassy a couple of days ago.

According to ČTK's reporter, the explosion did not damage the house's exterior.

The Czech Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Johana Grohová told CTK that the ministry will not comment on the matter as long as the police investigation is underway.

"We express our sympathies on the ambassador having succumbed to the injuries," she said.

Grohová said the ministry will deal with letters of condolence and the repatriation of the body on Thursday.


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