In a story where the plot keeps changing, there is a report of yet another new twist in the mysterious death of the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic that happened New Year’s Day.
After initial reports that Jamal al-Jamal, 56, was killed at the Palestinian embassy in Prague when he opened a booby-trapped safe, a police spokeswoman last week said he was holding the explosive in his hand when it detonated.
Now, a newspaper is making the claim that Jamal was killed by a booby-trapped book.
The Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes, citing a police investigator, reported Tuesday that the ambassador was most likely killed by a decades-old stash of Semtex plastic explosives that was hidden in a book at the embassy.
Reuters, which translated highlights from the report, wrote that Czech police now believe Jamal “had simply unwittingly” opened the book that was booby-trapped years ago.
“It was an unfortunate accident. The ambassador was a thorough man who wanted to put some old things in order, and among them there were two books with explosives,” the unnamed investigator told the paper.
“We are awaiting another expert opinion, but it was Semtex with 99.9 percent probability. The explosive was roughly from the 1970s. It was at least 30 years old,” a police source told the newspaper.
The new reported information sheds further light on Czech police claims last week that Jamal was “mishandling” the explosives that killed him.
According to Reuters, the Czech newspaper on Tuesday did not explain why booby-trapped books had been left at the Palestinian embassy.
“There’s a question of whether he knew what he was dealing with,” police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova said last week.
Following the Jan. 1 explosion, Czech police found other weapons and explosives inside the embassy including submachine guns that had not been registered — dating to the time of the Cold War.
“The Palestinians had said they were old gifts from officials of Communist Czechoslovakia, which has friendly relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization of the late Yasser Arafat,” Reuters report.
The Czech police did not comment on the newspaper report.