Blast kills Palestinian ambassador in Prague

Mr Jamal died in hospital hours after the explosion, as Rob Cameron reports

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The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic is killed by an explosion at his home in Prague, in what police say appears to have been an accident.

Jamal al-Jamal died of his injuries in hospital four hours after the blast.

It happened when Mr Jamal tried to open a safe that had been sealed for more than 20 years, officials say.

Czech police have said that the explosion might have been triggered by a safety device fitted to the safe.

"The safe was sitting neglected in one of the areas of the old embassy. No-one had touched it for 20 to 25 years," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told the Associated Press news agency.

A 52-year-old woman - believed to be Mr Jamal's wife - was also taken to hospital after the explosion at the diplomat's two-storey property in the city's Suchdol district.

Mr Jamal had only recently moved into the property and Palestinian officials have been quoted as saying that he had been moving the safe from an old embassy building to the new one.

There are no visible signs of damage to the house from the street, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said it would send a delegation to Prague to assist with the investigation.

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is recognised by the UN and Israel as representing the Palestinian people, has diplomats based in European and other capitals, and has a mission in Prague.

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