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Disasters

Palestinian ambassador in Prague dies after explosion

Police in the Czech Republic say the Palestinian ambassador has died from injuries sustained in an explosion in his residence in a Prague suburb. Police have ruled out a terrorist attack or foul play.

Police said the ambassador, Jamal al-Jamal, died in hospital on New Year's Day after being injured in an explosion in his residence.

The Czech newspaper Pravo reported that the explosion occurred while a safe was being opened. An emergency services spokeswoman told the dpa news agency that a 56-year-old woman was in a state of shock and being treated for smoke inhalation.

Both police and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malk said no foul play was suspected. Police said that the device that exploded could have been a part of the safe's security system, which the ambassador might have "mishandled."

The area surrounding the ambassador's residence in the Prague suburb of Suchdol was sealed off by police. Explosives experts were reportedly examining the scene of the explosion.

The explosion occurred around noon local time (11 a.m. UTC).

Al-Jamal took over the post of Palestinian ambassador to Prague in October and reportedly moved into the apartment only a few days ago.

tj/pfd (dpa, Reuters)