Stash of weapons found at Palestinian embassy complex in Prague

Czech police find pistols and submachine guns after ambassador killed

A worker removes equipment from the residence of Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal, in Prague, yesterday. The ambassador was killed in an explosion at his apartment after he opened his safe. Photograph: EPA

A worker removes equipment from the residence of Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal, in Prague, yesterday. The ambassador was killed in an explosion at his apartment after he opened his safe. Photograph: EPA

Sun, Jan 5, 2014, 21:38

Czech police found 12 weapons, including pistols and sub-machine guns, at the Palestinian mission in Prague after an explosion killed the ambassador at his residence last week, the police chief was quoted as saying yesterday.

Police said the explosion that killed ambassador Jamal al-Jamal after he opened a safe might have been caused by mishandling a device meant to secure it.


Unlicensed weapons
After the incident, investigators found unlicensed weapons at the complex of the Palestinian mission that includes the embassy and residence. But the police had not immediately detailed the amount or type of weapons.

Daily newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes’s website idnes.cz reported that 12 weapons were discovered, confirming the number with national police chief Martin Cervicek, who declined to say how many pistols or sub-machine guns were found.

“We have to put the weapons through genetic and ballistic testing, until then we will not release this information,” idnes.cz quoted Mr Cervicek as saying. A police spokeswoman was not available.

On Thursday, a Palestinian official said the mission’s staff had submitted the arms to the Czech authorities. He said the weapons had been untouched since cold war times.


Previous era
The deputy Palestinian foreign minister, Tayseer Jaradat, in Prague with a team to help the investigation, said he had confirmed to the Czech authorities the weapons were from a previous era and were being stored: “We have stressed our commitment to the laws of diplomacy.”

Mr Jaradat told Voice of Palestine radio the stash dated back more than 30 years. He said some guns had been gifts to the embassy and some had been registered with authorities. Czech police were not investigating the explosion as an attack, although the ambassador’s daughter has alleged he was “deliberately killed”. “This case needs more time and more criminal investigation to uncover the mystery of the case,” Mr Jaradat said. – (Reuters)