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Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Prague Killed in Explosion

PA envoy to Prague succumbs to injuries after explosion at his house; reports suggest 'mishandling of explosives', not attack.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 1/1/2014, 3:50 PM

Police outside PA ambassador's home in Prague
Police outside PA ambassador's home in Prague
Reuters

The Palestinian Authority's ambassador to the Czech Republic has died of wounds sustained in an explosion which rocked his house in the capital Prague. 

Jamal al-Jamal was rushed to hospital in a serious condition following the explosion, which apparently occurred as he was opening a safe or container of some kind.

Contrary to initial reports that his family were unharmed despite being in the building at the time, it has been confirmed that al-Jamal's wife was also hurt in the blast.

A spokeswoman for Prague Emergency Services told CNN that the 57 year-old ambassador has been taken to Prague military hospital with serious injuries, and is in a medically-induced coma. Jirina Ernestova added that his 52 year-old wife has been admitted to Motol Hospital suffering from shock and smoke inhalation.

The BBC cited reports that Jamal al-Jamal suffered injuries "to his limbs".

Although is not immediately clear what the precise cause of the explosion was, police are now saying it was likely the result of an "accident" and not an attack. Some unconfirmed reports suggest the ambassador may have been mishandling explosives.

According to an unnamed "Palestinian official", quoted by the Guardian: "He moved an old case with him to the new house [where the explosion took place - ed.] from the old house. And when he opened it, the explosion happened."

Czech authorities have so far been vague however, with police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova simply confirming that "there was a detonation in the residence of a Palestinian diplomat. 

"The diplomat suffered a serious injury and was taken to hospital. We are investigating the causes," she added.

The area has since been cordoned off, and bomb-disposal teams are at the site in the city's Suchdol district, according to Czech media. There does not appear to be any damage to the outside of the house, suggesting a relatively small explosion.