Palestinian ambassador to Prague killed after opening safe with a bomb in it. Why did he have a bomb in his safe?
The bomb in the Palestinian ambassador's safe could go back to the old days when communist Czechoslovakia supplied terrorists with Semtex, a well known and highly effective Czech-made explosive
At this stage it's only a little better than enlightened speculation. But watching Czech TV, as I am right now, the latest view on the explosion that killed the Palestinian ambassador to Prague today is that it was not the result of foul play, not at least in the sense he was assassinated.
However, see below, there is a fascinating theory circulating among journalists in Prague.
Even the Palestinian Foreign Ministry is telling the Arab media that Ambassador Jamal al-Jamal “was opening an old safe which had been brought from the previous embassy (building) to the new one.”
Czech authorities say it was a case of "careless handing of dangerous explosive material," according to my translation from the Czech media. The Czech TV channel CT24 is quoting a senior police chief as saying it was not "a terrorist act".
I have spoken to some old journalist friends in Prague who have an idea that may be true, or may turn out to be misleading. But it is plausible.
Several of them said they had heard that the explosive could have been Semtex-based. Semtex was invented in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and is named after a neighbourhood called Semtin next to the Czech city of Pardubice which is around 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the Czech capital Prague.
In the Cold War, vast amounts of Semtex were exported to Arab terror groups and regimes friendly to the Palestinians such as Libya. It was popular because it was powerful and practically impossible to detect until post-Cold War treaties obliged the Czechs to place detection agents giving it an odour inside the explosive material.
If it was Semtex, it would almost certainly have been of very old stock. The Czech Republic is now one of the most pro-Israeli countries in Europe.
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