Palestinian Ambassador in Prague dead after explosion


Jamal al-Jamal, the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic

The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic died on Wednesday after suffering severe injuries caused by an explosion after he had opened a safe at his new Prague residence, according to accounts by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prague police.

The police account said there was no indication the explosion had been a terrorist attack.

The diplomat, Jamal al-Jamal, 56, had been in the Czech capital only since Oct. 11. He and his family were just moving into the residence.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Mr. Jamal was critically injured by the blast that occurred minutes after he had opened a safe that had been transferred to the new residence from the mission’s old headquarters, and that he was pronounced dead after undergoing emergency surgery at the hospital.

The statement, carried by Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, said that the Palestinian authorities were in contact with the Czech authorities, authorizing them to inspect the scene of the explosion, and that a Palestinian delegation would arrive in Prague on Thursday in order to cooperate with the investigation.

Riyad al-Malki, the foreign minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said in a statement that Mr. Jamal was “an example of a successful diplomat who was diligent in serving his country and his cause.”

A police spokeswoman, Andrea Zoulova, confirmed that Mr. Jamal had died in a Prague hospital from the injuries, but declined any comment on the cause of the explosion. The president of the Czech police, Martin Cervicek, was quoted by Czech television as saying, “We do not have a single indication that this could be a terrorist attack.”

The villa where the explosion took place suffered no damage visible from the outside, according to the online service of the Mlada Fronta Dnes, a daily newspaper. It quoted neighbors as saying they had heard nothing.

The Palestinian Authority maintains missions in a number of European capitals as part of a broader diplomatic effort to advance the cause of Palestinian statehood. The explosion came against a backdrop of protracted negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel over a Middle East peace plan.

The ambassador’s residence is different from the mission itself, which is in a neighboring villa.

NY Times