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Prague Residents Against Palestinian Embassy After Explosion

(Vatican Radio) Tensions are rising between the Palestinian Authority and the Czech Republic after residents in a Prague district demanded the closure of the Palestinian embassy complex. The demands came after a booby-trapped safe killed the ambassador and illegal weapons were discovered in the building. Residents in the Suchdol district, where the Palestinian ambassador's residence and embassy are based, already placed banners with slogans such as "we like the city, not weapons." They recall that dozens of people living nearby were briefly evacuated when Palestinian Ambassador Jamal al-Jamal was killed when an old embassy safe exploded.


His daughter, Rana Al-Jamal, has said she believes the 56-year-old career diplomat was killed. Officials had claimed it was an accident. People living in Suchdol are especially concerned about the discovery of weapons. Czech media have reported that there are enough weapons, including assault rifles, to arm a 10-men fighting unit. Prague’s Suchdol district has asked the Czech Foreign Ministry "to move the Palestinian embassy outside its premises," explained its mayor Petr Hejl.


He said following the deadly explosion and the discovery of illegal weapons and explosives, the local council concluded that the "embassy presents a security risk to the public and should be closed," he said. Hejl stressed that the embassy "violated Czech and international laws" by holding illegal arms and could no longer be considered trustworthy. Czech media have quoted a counter-intelligence officer as saying Palestinians had the weapons to protect themselves against possible attacks from Israel's secret service Mossad. Additionally, the Palestinian Liberation Organization had close ties with what was Czechoslovakia and other Soviet satellite states during the Communist era, while preparing attacks.

Listen to the report by correspondent Stefan Bos: RealAudioMP3