‘No explosive device on safe that killed Palestine envoy’

Updated 03 January 2014
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‘No explosive device on safe that killed Palestine envoy’

PRAGUE: A safe that exploded at the Palestinian residence in Prague, killing the ambassador, was used almost daily for storing cash, and embassy staff were not aware of any explosive safety device in it, the embassy spokesman said on Thursday.
Czech police on Wednesday ruled out what they called a “terrorist attack” and said the likely cause was that a safety device that was part of the safe blew up and fatally wounded Ambassador Jamal Al-Jamal.
However, embassy spokesman Nabil El Fahel told Reuters that embassy staff were not aware of any explosive device connected to the safe — adding further confusion to an already murky incident.
“According to our information there was not (an explosive safety mechanism), none of us knew there was any device like that,” he said.
He also denied information in the media from Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki who said the safe had not been used for two decades or more — which could link it to a Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Prague in the 1980s.
“The safe was being used almost daily for depositing money ... used for salaries of embassy staff, for buying items for daily operations,” Fahel said. “Minister Malki had mistakenly spoken about a second safe ... that was empty and almost never used.”
Czech police said they were examining the safe, which could take several days. Some safes can be fitted with small charges to destroy secret documents in the event of the lock being tampered with.
A former Israeli intelligence agency Mossad safe-cracker who declined to be named said it was strange that any such mechanism within the safe would cause such damage.
Former Czech military intelligence chief Andor Sandor told Reuters available information indicated it may be an accident or an attack of a private rather than political nature.
Born in Beirut to a refugee family, Jamal joined Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction of the PLO in 1975 and served in its missions to Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. He only took his Prague post in October.
Czechoslovakia maintained friendly ties with the PLO in the 1980s, but since the 1989 collapse of communist rule the EU and NATO member country has been supportive of Israel.


Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

Updated 18 June 2018
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Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

  • The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site
  • “Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas “military targets” in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.
The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.
“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.
The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.
Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.
According to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.
At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.
Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy.
The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense cease-fire.