Palestinian diplomat killed by Semtex from 1970s

Two books hid Czechoslovak-made explosives, went off when opened

Prague, April 8 (ČTK) — Semtex hidden in a book caused the explosion that killed Palestinian Ambassador Jamal al Jamal in a new building of the diplomatic mission Jan. 1, daily Mlada frontá Dnes (MfD) writes today, citing a detective close to the investigation.

The police are still waiting for the results of three expert reports. Once the reports confirm the cause of the blast, they would officially announce it, the detective said.

He said Semtex from the 1970s was hidden in a book, which Jamal opened when the mission was moving to a new seat.

The detective told MfD that two books, which were actually boxes with Semtex, were moved to the mission’s new seat in Suchdol, a northern neighborhood of Prague.

Semtex is a highly effective plastic explosive that Czechoslovakia produced from the 1960s.

The Semtex blasted when Jamal touched “the book.” Jamal died of his injuries in hospital, to which he was transported.

“It was an accident. The diplomat was an honest man who wanted to go through old stuff that included two books with explosives,” the detective to the paper.

He said the police ruled out all other versions of the fatal accident.

At first, the Czech investigators ruled out a terrorist attack and the possibility of somebody else killing the diplomat. Last week they said the blast was not caused by an improvised explosive device in a safety box.

The Czech police have also found 12 unregistered firearms from the 1980s in the mission’s building and they investigate the case over suspected illegal possession of arms. The Palestinian officials say the guns were gifts from representatives of the then communist Czechoslovakia.

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