International

Palestinian ambassador killed by bomb blast at Prague home

Authorities find no sign of foul play, say explosion occurred when Jamal al-Jamal tried to open an old safe

A firefighter walks to the site of an explosion in Prague at the Palestinian ambassador's two-story home on Jan. 1, 2014.
David W Cerny/Reuters

The Palestinian ambassador to Prague was killed in an explosion at his residence on Wednesday in what Czech authorities believe was probably an accident.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told Al Jazeera ambassador Jamal al-Jamal had been trying to open a safe that had been moved to his new home recently. A Czech government source said that the explosion was probably caused by a security device on the unit.

Al-Malki said there was no sign of foul play or that al-Jamal was targeted in any way. The ambassador had just changed offices and was likely inspecting the safe that had been moved with other office furniture.

Czech police said the ambassador was taken to a hospital where died of his injuries. 

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."

"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.

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

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

It is unclear what kind of explosive device was involved. Some safes can be fitted with mechanisms designed to destroy secret documents if the lock tampered with.

Police said they were still investigating the causes. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it would send a delegation to Prague "to help with the investigation."

Al Jazeera and wire services

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Join the Al Jazeera America Mailing List

Get weekly news updates and the latest on what’s next for Al Jazeera America

Join the Al Jazeera America Mailing List

Get weekly news updates and the latest on what’s next for Al Jazeera America

Join the Conversation