Czech police investigating the death of the Palestinian ambassador in Prague are offering a key new detail in their investigation, now saying he was holding an explosive in his hand when it detonated.
Ambassador Jamal Al Jamal, 56, was killed in the blast at the Palestinian Embassy on New Year’s Day. While officials had said Jamal opened a booby-trapped safe, police now say their tests suggest Jamal was “mishandling” the explosives.
“An experimental blast carried out by experts confirms this theory,” police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova said Monday according to Agence France-Presse.
“The explosive was not placed on the door or inside the safe and was not there to protect the safe,” Zoulova added, according to the BBC.
“Mishandling remains the most likely option,” she said. “There’s a question of whether he knew what he was dealing with.”
The new information casts new mystery on the circumstances of the explosion inside the embassy.
The BBC reported that Czech police believe they need few a few more weeks to complete their investigation which is now being characterized as a case of negligence.
Jamal died only three months after taking his position as ambassador.
Following the blast, Czech police found several weapons and explosives inside the embassy, including submachine guns and sidearms that had not been registered.
Palestinian officials said the weapons were gifts from officials in Czechoslovakia before the fall of communism in 1989.
The BBC reported that Jamal was born in Beirut and joined the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1975.
While he was appointed to his post in Prague in October, he had spent just two nights in his new residence before he was killed, the BBC added.