Thursday, 15 August 2019

Czechs step up security after Paris attacks, urge fighting IS

16 November 2015

Prague, (CTK) - The Czech Republic has reinforced security measures at airports, shopping centres and other places after the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the attacks amount to declaration of war and called for the destruction of Islamic State (IS) that claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said the Schengen border will have to be closed.

The Centre of Muslim Communities in the Czech Republic also denounced the attacks.

The National Security Council agreed on the need to reinforce the protection of the EU border.

Czech politicians expressed sympathy to the victims´ families. People are bringing flowers to the French embassy in Prague and the victims of the Paris attacks have also been commemorated in other places across the Czech Republic.

Czech authorities say no Czechs are among the dead and hundreds of injured in the terrorist attacks.

President Milos Zeman denounced the attacks as an abominable crime that confirms that "difficult times start."

Sobotka said "we must talk to our allies what we can still do for destroying Islamic State."

Some politicians called on people not to succumb to fear and hatred that the extremists from Al-Qaeda and IS are trying to provoke.

Czech Muslims also called the terrorist attacks "monstrous." "The message of Islam according to the Quran is a message of compassion destined for all people, not a message of revenge and hatred which extremist from the Al-Qaeda and IS spread through their criminal political ideology and terrorist acts," the Centre of Muslim Communities said in its afternoon statement.

Sobotka asked Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and the BIS counter-intelligence service to quickly assess the situation, including possible impacts on the security of the Czech Republic and EU.

An intelligence group comprised of police leadership and secret services met on Saturday.

Sobotka and Chovanec said the security corps have no information indicating that the Czech Republic would be threatened with similar attacks like in France.

This afternoon, the National Security Council met. President Zeman said it agreed on the need to reinforce the protection of the EU border.

The council members promised to be pushing this stance at negotiations in the EU.

Zeman has had black flags flown at Prague Castle, the presidential seat.

The arena, in which the tennis Fed Cup final match between the Czech Republic and Russia is played at the weekend was guarded by armed police.

Chovanec is checking people and cars that might be linked to terrorists at the request of France, but none have been uncovered.

The degree of protection of the nuclear power plants in Temelin and Dukovany has been raised preventively.

Prague lookout tower on Petrin Hill has been illuminated with the French national colours.

Outside the French embassy, Zeman repeated that the struggle with international terrorism requires a coordinated international armed action.

Sobotka said besides expressions of solidarity, it is necessary to think about what should be done to prevent a repeat of similar bestial attacks on EU citizens.

Church bells will be ringing in the Czech Republic on Sunday in memory of the attacks´ victims.

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