Prague seeks answers as Palestinian envoy's body flown home

PRAGUE (AFP) - Czech authorities are seeking answers over an arms find at the Palestinian mission in Prague, as the body of an envoy killed by an apparently accidental explosion there was flown home.

The coffin bearing the remains of 56-year-old Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal was placed aboard a regular flight to Amman from where it will be repatriated to the Palestinian Territories, the Czech CTK agency reported.

Mr Jamal, who had been ambassador to the Czech Republic since October, died on January 1 of injuries caused by the explosion, which police suggest was triggered by an anti-theft device inside a safe he was manipulating.

They have ruled out an assassination.

This version of events has been contested by the late diplomat's daughter Rana al-Jamal, who believes her father was murdered.

On Sunday, Czech police announced that investigators had found 12 weapons inside the Palestinian mission in Prague where the New Year's day explosion happened.

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.

He said the weapons discovered included submachine guns and pistols, which would undergo DNA and ballistic tests.

The Czech Foreign Ministry on Monday denounced a "flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations".

"The Czech Republic expects the Palestinian side to explain clearly and without equivocation the situation concerning these arms found in the Palestinian mission," it said in a statement.

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