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Palestinian Ambassador Dead After Explosion in Prague

- Common Dreams staff

Firefighters search an area after an explosion in Prague January 1, 2014. (Rueters/David W Cerny)Jamal 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," police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova said. "The ambassador was ... taken to hospital with serious injuries."

Al-Jamal died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

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

Reuters reports:

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said ambassador Jamal al-Jamal had been trying to open a safe that was recently moved to his new home and a Czech government source told Reuters that the explosion was probably caused by a security device on the unit.

It was unclear what that was. Some safes can be fitted with mechanisms designed to destroy secret documents in the event of the lock being tampered with. The Czech source said the government did not believe it was a terrorist attack.

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.

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