An already strange story deepened when Czech police reported finding a dozen illegal weapons, including sub-machine guns, inside the Palestinian embassy complex in Prague.
Police searched the property after Ambassador Jamal al-Jamal died Wednesday when he tried to open a booby-trapped safe that had been in the Palestinian embassy for years. The safe was brought to Jamal's residence. He assumed the post in October. His death is being treated as an accident.
Palestinian officials say the weapons at issue were there legally, and were remnants of the Cold War that had not been touched in years. The Czech Republic's national police chief says the weapons will go through genetic and ballistic testing.
But local Czech and diplomatic officials reacted angrily to the discovery. The foreign ministry is considering a request by the local community to move the embassy. "The district feels betrayed by the behavior of diplomats who kept weapons and explosives at the embassy, violating Czech and international law," said Petr Hejl, senior councilor of Prague's Suchdol district.
Foreign ministry officials also say the weapons should have been registered and licensed, even if housed in an embassy. "In such case, the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations may have been breached and we will demand an explanation," it said in a statement.