Bizarre explosion kills Palestinian diplomat in Prague
January 2, 2014 Leave a comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The ambassador of Palestine to the Czech Republic was pronounced dead yesterday following injuries he sustained from a mysterious explosion at his residence. Czech police said Jamal al-Jamal died in hospital on New Year ’s Day, having suffered lethal injuries to his chest, abdomen and head. According to early indications, the 56-year-old diplomat was killed by an explosion caused as he opened a safe that had been transferred to his residence from the old Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in downtown Prague. During the Cold War, the PLO, which al-Jamal joined in 1975, maintained close relations with most of the nations of the communist bloc, including what was then Czechoslovakia. The organization, which was led by Fatah leader Yasser Arafat, maintained an office in the Czechoslovakian capital. However, according to the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Malki, the Palestinian National Authority is currently in the process of moving its diplomatic premises from downtown Prague to the northern suburb of Suchdol, adjacent to the two-story building that housed Ambassador al-Jamal and his family. Al-Maliki said that the safe al-Jamal was trying to open at the time of the explosion had come from the old PLO offices in downtown Prague where “no one had touched it for 20 to 25 years”. He added that the blast was triggered just moments after al-Jamal opened the safe in order to record its contents, prior to having it moved to the new premises of the Palestinian diplomatic mission next door. “After he decided to open [the safe], apparently something happened inside and [it] went off”, said the minister. It is not unknown for maximum security burglar-resistant safes to feature low-intensity booby-traps designed to destroy documents in the event of the security mechanism being compromised. However, such self-destructive mechanisms are typically low-powered and are not designed to kill burglars. Czech national police officials told reporters on Wednesday that the explosive device that killed al-Jamal was likely stored in the safe and may or may not have been part of a security mechanism. The Director of Czech National Police, Martin Cervicek, told Czech Television that “the investigation so far [shows] this was definitely not a terrorist attack”. Nabil el-Fahel, a spokesman for the Palestinian embassy in Prague, said he could not comment on the nature of the explosive mechanism that killed al-Jamal, and said it was important “to wait for the results of the police investigation”.