The Palestinian Authority has not explained to the Czech Republic why 12 firearms, including submachine guns, were stored at its embassy in Prague where a PA diplomat was killed in an explosion to weeks ago.
Palestinian diplomats have apologized for hiding illegal weapons at the Prague embassy where a blast killed the ambassador on New Year’s Day, the Czech foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
“A high-ranking Palestinian foreign ministry official… issued an official apology from the Palestinian side for the illegal presence of weapons on the premises of the Palestinian embassy,” the PA ministry said, but there was more left unsaid than what was admitted.
Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal was killed on January 1 when he was opening a safe in his new office.
It was immediately assumed that the explosion was an accident, possibly resulting from a device in the safe to immediately destroy documents if anyone were to tamper with the safe. It had been moved from the Palestinian Authority’s former offices in Prague.
But a PA official later said that the safe was old and had no such device.
Czech police later found the firearms, dating back to the 1980s and which were illegally kept. The Prague Post reported Tuesday that the weapons had not been in use.
Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Johana Grohová told ČTK news, “We’ve received a note in which they explain the origin of the weapons that were found in the residence of the late Palestinian ambassador, but they do not explain the reason why the weapons were there, illegally in our view. We still insist that this amounted to a violation of the Czech Republic’s legal order, or the law on firearms and ammunition.
We’ve been assured that the weapons had not been used, that they were deposited. Nevertheless, it has not been sufficiently explained why the weapons continued being kept in the seat of their [Palestinian] mission.”
The Palestinian Authority already is considered a bad neighbor in the area where the new office and apartment are located. Several dozen people demonstrated outside the PA embassy on Friday to demand that it be relocated,