Czech officials request Palestinian embassy move after illegal weapons found

Following death of Palestinian ambassador in blast, Suchdol district in Prague asks officials to move embassy.

Firefighters search area after explosion. (photo credit: Reuters)
Firefighters search area after explosion.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Czech officials in the Suchdol district of Prague, where the PLO embassy stands, on Friday asked the embassy to move away.
Officials said they feel betrayed by what was found inside it after an explosion killed ambassador Jamal al-Jamal when he opening a safe in his home in Prague on January 1, AFP reported.
“We asked the Czech Foreign Ministry for the embassy to be moved out of our district,” Petr Hejl, senior councilor of Prague’s Suchdol district, said.
“The district feels betrayed by the behavior of diplomats who kept weapons and explosives at the embassy, violating Czech and international law,” he added.
“We understand the fears of Suchdol residents,” Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Johana Gohova said on Friday.
The ministry would “look into it,” she added.
Earlier in the week, Prague police chief Martin Vondrasek told Czech Radio that investigators had found weapons at the mission that were not registered with local authorities.
He did not reveal the quantity and type.
The Czech Foreign Ministry said it was concerned by the discovery. It said diplomats’ weapons were subject to local laws on arms, which require registration and licensing.
“The ministry is concerned that among evidence... were weapons not registered in the Czech Republic,” the ministry said.
“In such case, the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations may have been breached and we will demand an explanation,” it added, referring to the international rules that govern the activities of diplomats and embassies.
Communist Czechoslovakia maintained friendly relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1980s, but the Czech Republic, an EU and NATO member country, has been supportive of Israel.
Jamal suffered fatal wounds to his head, chest and abdomen in the explosion on New Year’s Day. His daughter Rana al-Jamal, 30, told Reuters: “We believe my father was killed and that his death was something arranged and not an accident. How? We do not know and that is what we want to know.”
Jamal had been in Prague only since October, but had previously served at the mission for two decades from the mid-1980s, the daughter said.
He had used the safe during that period and it remained in Prague when he left, she added by telephone from Ramallah.