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Palestinian ambassador in Prague killed in blast

Posted: January 1, 2014 8:23 a.m.
Updated: January 1, 2014 8:23 a.m.

PRAGUE (AP) — The Palestinian ambassador in the Czech Republic died on Wednesday after an explosion in his apartment in Prague, officials said.

Ambassador Jamel al-Jamal, 56, was at home with his family at the time of the blast, according to Palestinian Embassy spokesman Nabil El-Fahel. Al-Jamal was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital where he died, according to police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the explosion occurred when the diplomat was moving an old office safe box. It was not immediately clear how the explosives got there, and the ministry said the blast was being investigated.

Zoulova said police experts were searching the apartment, and he declined to comment further.

Martin Cervicek, the country's top police officer, told the Czech public television that nothing was immediately found to suggest that the diplomat was the victim of a terrorist attack.

Prague rescue service spokeswoman Jirina Ernestova said al-Jamal was placed in a medically induced coma when he first arrived at Prague Military Hospital. Dr. Daniel Langer, who works there, told public television that al-Jamal had suffered serious abdominal injuries.

Ernestova said a 52-year old woman was taken from the scene of the explosion to a different hospital in Prague after suffering from shock. She was not immediately identified.

The ambassador's apartment is in Prague's Suchdol neighborhood. It's part of a new complex that includes a new Palestinian Embassy and the ambassador's residence, El-Fahel said.

He said the new embassy has not been opened yet and the ambassador spent only two nights in the new residence. Al-Jamal took office on Oct. 11 by presenting his credentials to President Milos Zeman.


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