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‘Freak’ blast kills envoy

Prague, Jan. 1 (Reuters): The Palestinian ambassador to Prague was killed today in a blast at his residence that Czech police said appeared to be an accident caused by explosives detonated when the diplomat opened a safe.

“There is nothing suggesting that a terrorist act was committed,” spokesperson Andrea Zoulova told reporters after ambassador Jamal al-Jamal died in hospital following the incident at his home on the morning of New Year’s Day.

Among possible causes, she said, were that an explosive device, which might have been part of a security mechanism on the safe, went off for no clear reason or because of mishandling.

Jamal had taken up his post only in October.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA, citing a foreign ministry statement, said the blast happened when Jamal, who Czech media said was aged 56, tried to open a safe that had been moved from the embassy’s old offices.

No one else was injured in the explosion, police said, although Jamal’s family was at home in the two-storey suburban residence.

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