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No increased terror threat but security still beefed up on Czech streets after Berlin attack

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Prague, Dec 20 (CTK) – The Czech Republic faces no concrete terrorist threat and its intelligence team has agreed on preserving the country’s first degree of terrorist danger, PM Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters after meeting the interior minister, police president and intelligence officers yesterday.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the police will be massively present in places with a high concentration of people until the end of the year.
Chovanec (CSSD) said he plans to reinforce the police patrols by several hundred officers.
The military will not join the security measures, he said.
Sobotka said the Monday attack in Berlin, where the assailant drove with a truck into a Christmas market crowd, was repugnant and inhuman.
It ensues from available information that there is no common denominator between the attack and the Czech Republic, Sobotka said.
“For us, security of Czech citizens is a priority,” he said.
Chovanec said the police have chosen about 40 events to pay special attention to.
If nothing unusual happens, the police’s increased presence could be terminated in the first week of January, he said.
Sobotka welcomed the police’s quick reaction to the Berlin attack and their reinforcement of patrols as quickly as Monday night.
He said the security forces will continue assessing the situation and they are also waiting for the development of the German investigation.
Chovanec said the police are ready to impose checks on the Czech borders if necessary.
At present, only random checks have been made on the borders with Germany and Poland, Tuhy said.
Sobotka said Germany will have to change its approach to migration policy, also in the light of the Monday event.
“Our opinions have differed in the past three years…There is no reason for the valid [migration] rules not to be observed. They should also be observed by the Greeks and Italians, who cannot people enter the Schengen area without being checked,” Sobotka said.
The first degree of terrorist danger has been valid in the Czech Republic since March 22 when the cabinet approved it in reaction to attacks on a Brussels airport and metro.
At the time, several hundreds soldiers were deployed in Czech towns’ streets to patrol together with the police. The joint patrols were withdrawn in May.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) has tweeted that 700 soldiers are on alert ready to reinforce police patrols.
The Czech alert system knows four degrees of terrorist alert, ranging from zero, an ideal situation, to three as a high probability of an attack. The current first degree means the need of increased vigilance.

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