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Palestinian Ambassador Dies in Prague After Safe Explosion

By Lenka Ponikelska and Krystof Chamonikolas
January 01, 2014 12:21 PM EST 18 Comments
A policeman stands in front of the residence of Jamal al-Jamal, Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, in Prague on Jan. 1,  2014.
Source: AFP/Getty Images
A policeman stands in front of the residence of Jamal al-Jamal, Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, in Prague on Jan. 1, 2014.

The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jamal al-Jamal, died from injuries sustained when a safe exploded at his Prague residence, police said.

The 56-year-old ambassador, who took the post last October, died after being taken to a Prague hospital with injuries to his head, chest and stomach, Daniel Langer, the facility’s chief surgeon, said on Czech public television today.

“Indications we have so far don’t suggest this was a terrorist act,” Andrea Zoulova, a police spokeswoman, told Bloomberg News by phone. “It’s possible the blast was caused by improper handling” of the safe that may have been fitted with an explosive “device installed there to prevent unauthorized opening,” she said. A search of nearby properties owned by the embassy is ongoing, she added.

The old metal safe had been moved to the embassy from the mission’s prior residence, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said on its website.

A 52-year-old woman, who wasn’t identified, was taken to another hospital after inhaling smoke and suffering shock at the site of the explosion, Jirina Ernestova, the spokeswoman for the Prague Emergency Medical Service, said by phone.

The Palestinian Authority will send a security delegation to Prague to assist local police in the investigation, Wafa news agency said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lenka Ponikelska in Prague at lponikelska1@bloomberg.net; Krystof Chamonikolas in Prague at kchamonikola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net; Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net

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