Jamal al-Jamal, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the Czech Republic, was not killed in a terror attack, but by what appeared to be a “work accident,” PA Foreign Minister Ri'ad al-Maliki said Thursday. Al-Maliki released details that are currently known about the death of al-Jamal, who died on Wednesday in an explosion that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years, officials said.
The mysterious safe apparently did not explode immediately, said al-Maliki, indicating that al-Jamal was not a target of whoever set the explosive. Instead, he said, al-Jamal managed to get the safe open and asked his wife to bring him a pen and paper so he could write down what he saw in the safe. Al-Jamal then put his hand into the safe, setting off the explosive device.
The safe had apparently been set to explode if anyone tampered with its contents, al-Maliki said after conferring with Czech police.
No one else was hurt in the blast, but a woman was treated for shock after the explosion. Police said that the explosive material was still unidentified. “The diplomat was injured in the explosion and taken to a hospital with serious injuries,” a police spokesperson said. “He died of his wounds in the hospital. We have not yet identified how the explosion took place. An investigation is underway,” the spokesperson said.
Al-Maliki said that the safe had been moved from Al-Jamal's former residence to the new one he and his wife were occupying. The safe had apparently been in the ambassador's former home, and movers brought it to the new apartment. Al-Jamal had not been aware of the safe's presence in his former home, al-Maliki said.
Czech police will release a full report on the incident on Friday, he added. Al-Jamal's brother lives in Gaza and his sister lives in Ramallah, so it has not been decided where to bury him, although the PA would prefer that it be in Ramallah, he said.