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Prague police: 12 weapons found in Palestinian envoy's mission

Jan. 5, 2014 10:09 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 5, 2014 10:44 P.M.)
PRAGUE (AFP) -- Investigators have found 12 weapons inside the Palestinian mission in Prague where a New Year's Day explosion fatally wounded its envoy, police said Sunday.

At the same time Prague police chief Martin Cervicek denied media speculation that an arsenal of more than 70 weapons had been kept at the embassy, but would not give details.

"I firmly protest against false information that police officers found about 70 weapons. This doesn't make sense," the website of Prague daily Dnes quoted him as saying.

Cervicek said the weapons including submachine guns and pistols would undergo DNA and ballistic tests, but that no further information would be made public before that has happened.

Jamal al-Jamal, the 56-year-old ambassador to the Czech Republic since October, died on January 1. Police later ruled out an assassination, instead advancing the theory that the blast was caused by an anti-theft device inside a safe Jamal was manipulating.

They also said unregistered weapons were found inside the mission in violation of diplomatic treaties.

The Czech police are pursuing their investigation into the blast with Palestinian officials sent to Prague.

Jamal will be repatriated on Monday, his daughter Rana, who lives in Ramallah, said.

She has cast doubt on the police theory of the cause of her father's death, telling Dnes on Saturday: "What is certain is that it was not an accident."

Palestinian officials have given contradictory accounts of the explosion.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki has described the death as an "accident" caused by an old safe booby-trapped to explode if opened the wrong way. But a spokesman for the Palestinian embassy said the safe in question was new, often used, and contained "no built-in anti-theft system."

The ambassador's daughter said she was convinced the explosives were put inside the safe when the diplomatic mission was recently moved from a different address in the Czech capital.

"A political or other motive" could be behind her father's death, she said, without elaborating.

"I don't know and I won't mention anyone."
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