Czech Officials: Explosion From Illegal Palestinian Weapons Cache Possible Tip of the Iceberg of Europe Weapon Smuggling Ring
A weapons cache that exploded inside a locked safe at the site of the future Palestinian Authority embassy in Prague was entirely unregistered, and the illegal cache may be just the tip of the iceberg of a Europe-wide weapons smuggling ring, according to Czech officials. The sources made the allegation in interviews with Czech-language Aktualne.cz, which were translated by the Elder of Ziyon blog.
According to available information, 70 firearms, unregistered by Czech authorities, were found in the future embassy building, in Prague 6-Suchdol, after an explosion killed Ambassador Jamel al-Jamal last week. According to initial reports, the explosive was from material inside an embassy safe, which was being stored at the ambassador’s residence.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Czech anti-terrorism official pointed out the possibility that the Palestinian embassy in Prague could have served as a transit point to freely ship firearms to any of the 26 countries within the Schengen Area, allowing passport-free movement within the EU.
General Jiri Sedivy, former Czech Army chief-of-staff and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Policy and Planning, now head of the security studies section at Prague’s CEVRO Institut, said, “Maybe the affair in question involves a well organised weapons and explosives distribution network, including the weapons’s further recipients.”
“I’m horrified. This is not only a blatant violation of diplomatic norms and habits but also of security rules related to keeping such an arsenal, that also implies the tragic death of ambassador Jamal al Jamal,” said Sedivy, adding that similar arms arsenals may also be secretly kept at other Palestinian embassies in Europe and overseas.
“In my opinion this is very probable. The [Prague] blast, which occurred by sheer coincidence, may have uncovered something incredible… on the verge of monstrosity,” Sedivy said. “From the beginning it has not been a mere minor local scandal that would be soon over… but an incident of international dimensions,” he said, adding Palestinian Authority representatives have “played theater” with the investigation into the case so far.
Karel Randák, former head of the Czech foreign intelligence service said,”If this scandal of a collection of weapons and explosives cannot be plausibly explained by the Palestinians, the Czech authorities should terminate that mission without pardon. Diplomats who violate every conceivable principle have no business being in the Czech Republic.”
“But I can not think how they can explain this. It’s Inexplicable and indefensible, so that – at least in my opinion – we have no choice but to expel the Palestinians. Let’s start with the new Palestinian diplomats on a green field – for me, there’s no other way,” Randák said.
The arms cache recalled the discovery, in 2003, of an entire arsenal, including an anti-tank weapon, in the Iraqi embassy in Prague, intended for use attacking the offices of Radio Free Europe.