Palestine envoy dies after blast at Prague home

The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jamal Al Jamal, was killed by a blast in his Prague residence on Wednesday, police said.

"With regret we confirm this information provided by the emergency services," Prague police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova told AFP.

Daniel Langer, surgeon at the Prague military hospital to which Jamal was taken, told Czech television the ambassador had suffered devastating "head, belly and chest injuries following an explosion."

Jamal, who took office in October, had only recently moved to the new residence on the northern outskirts of Prague.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said the blast occurred on Wednesday morning as Jamal "was opening an old safe which had been brought from the previous embassy (building) to the new one."

"Minutes after opening the safe the explosion took place, causing serious injury to Ambassador Jamal who was taken to hospital and operated on," the ministry said in a statement.

Quoting sources close to the police investigation, the Novinky.cz news site said the blast was probably caused by "careless manipulation with a dangerous explosive."

It added the police had found "a significant quantity of weapons and explosives" in the building.

"Emergency services treated a 56-year-old man who suffered very serious injuries and was taken to Prague's military hospital in an artificial coma," spokeswoman Jirina Ernestova said shortly after the blast.

"A 52-year-old woman was taken to another hospital because of smoke inhalation and a stress reaction," Ernestova told AFP.

Embassy spokesman Nabil Al Fahel told Czech radio that the ambassador's entire family had been in the residence when the blast occurred.

Police said they were still investigating the causes.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said it would "send a high-level delegation to Prague (on Thursday) to speak with Czech officials and cooperate in the investigation into the cause of the explosion."

 

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