Daily Israel Report

PA's Czech Ambassador Killed By Explosives in Books

Investigation reveals PA ambassador killed January 1 in accident from 'Semtex' explosives, not from weapons safe.
By Nissan Tzur
First Publish: 4/8/2014, 5:55 PM

Scene of Prague blast (file)
Scene of Prague blast (file)
Reuters

It was not a booby-trapped safe that killed Jamal al-Jamal, Palestinian Authority (PA) Ambassador to the Czech Republic, on January 1. Rather, new investigations reveal the explosion was caused by a "Semtex" explosives charge hidden in two books.

The new breakthrough was reported on Tuesday by the Czech daily Mlada Fronta, citing a source close to the investigation. The new discovery supports results of the investigation in late March, which found the explosion did not take place in the safe, which was not fitted with an explosive device.

Now detectives have revealed that the plastic explosive Semtex hidden in books was the cause of Jamal's death. The explosive was invented in Czechoslovakia in the 1960’s and is used mostly for demolition, military applications and commercial demolitions.

Given the new discovery, Czech detectives are convinced the explosion was an accident and not a terrorist attack, and that Jamal was unaware of the explosives that were likely already hidden in the books in the 1970s.

“It was an accident. The diplomat was an honest man who wanted to go through old stuff that included two books with explosives, after moving to the new embassy building. The ambassador was killed when he touched the books," noted the detective.

Police are still waiting for three expert reports to officially confirm the causes of the explosion.

Shortly after the explosion, Czech police found 12 illegal weapons at the PA embassy complex. The PA claimed the weapons, which date from the 1970s and 1980s,  were given to them decades ago as gifts by officials in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, when it was a communist country with close ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).