AMMAN, Jordan: Mystery and speculation on Sunday surrounded the death of the Chinese ambassador to Israel.
The body of Du Wei, 57, was found by an assistant early on Sunday at his home in Herzliya, a coastal town north of Tel Aviv.
The official line from both Israeli and Chinese officials was that there were no suspicious circumstances in the diplomat’s death.
“While there is little detailed information coming out, it seems both sides are sending a message that this was a natural death and that there is no external intervention,” commentator Wadie Nassar told Arab News.
The ambassador’s own family told medical sources they believed Du had suffered a cardiac arrest, but that did not stop the rumor mill from going into overdrive.
Comments from readers under an online article in the Jerusalem Post included: “Something smells fishy here.” Another said there was “a long list of suspects,” and the envoy’s death was like something in a spy movie, or the US murder investigation show CSI.
Others suggested a link to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s whirlwind visit to Israel last week, during which he was overtly critical of China, and demanded that Israel stop sharing confidential military information with Beijing.
Speculation was fueled by a cryptic statement from an Israeli official, who said: “Police are investigating this as death by natural causes.” If Du died from natural causes, it was not immediately clear what police were investigating.
Du had been in Israel only since February, but already had a high profile defending his country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Du, 57, had previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, according to his biography on the embassy’s website. Du’s wife and son were not with him in Israel.