Palestinian ambassador to Prague killed in explosion

praguepalestineJamal al-Jamal, the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, died Wednesday after an explosion went off in his Prague residence.

“There has been a detonation of a so far unidentified explosive mixture,” a police spokeswoman said. “The ambassador was … taken to hospital with serious injuries.”

Al-Jamal died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Dr Daniel Langer, who works there, told public television that al-Jamal had suffered serious abdominal injuries, as well as injuries to his chest and head.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known and Czech officials said it may have been the result of an accident.

Czech police said the ambassador died of his injuries in hospital after the explosion on the morning of New Year’s Day in the two-storey suburban residence. No one else was injured, police said, although Jamal’s family was at home at the time.

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

Malki told The Associated Press news agency: “The ambassador wanted to know what is in the safe. 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.”

Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it would send a delegation to Prague “to help with the investigation”.

Al-Jamal was born in 1957, in Beirut’s Sabra and Shatilla refugee camp. His family is originally from Jaffa in what is now Israel.

He joined Fatah in 1975 and was appointed deputy ambassador in Bulgaria in 1979.

Starting in 1984, he served as a diplomat in Prague, eventually as acting ambassador. From 2005-2013, he served as consul general in Alexandria, Egypt. In October 2013, he was appointed ambassador in Prague.