International terrorism, growing cyber threats and right-wing extremism are
the main challenges the Czech counterintelligence service BIS will have to
face in the immediate future, its head Michal Koudelka said in an interview
for the CTK news agency, on the occasion of the service’s 25th
He said the service was also having to counter the growing activities of foreign agents in the country. In recent years the service has reported on a growing number of Russian and Chinese agents in the country.
The head of the Czech counterintelligence service received a top award from America’s CIA earlier this year. He said the George Tenet Award, which recognises international cooperation, was a tribute to the work of the whole counterintelligence service.
A pensioner found guilty of terrorism after causing two train crashes aimed
at spreading fear of Muslim migrants has appealed his conviction, Czech
Jaromír Balda, aged 71, was sentenced in January to four years in prison and out-patient psychiatric treatment.
In 2017 he cut down trees on railway lines near Mladá Boleslav, causing crashes in which no one was injured.
He left leaflets at the scene purporting to be from Muslim terrorists claiming responsibility.
A charity concert in support of the victims of the Easter terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka will take place in Prague’s Hilton hotel on Saturday. The event, organised by the Czech Centres and the Catholic Charity, in cooperation with the Czech Foreign Ministry, will feature the Zlín Philharmonic Orchestra led by Prague-based Indian conductor Debashish Chaudhuri. The proceeds from the concert will go directly to the families affected by the attacks.
A court in Pardubice is hearing the case of a Czech man accused of
involvement in a terrorist attack on the territory of Ukraine in 2015.
The man allegedly visited Ukraine in the summer of that year and joined in the fighting on the side of separatists in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.
He joined the Czech Army soon after his return, but failed to pass psychological tests and was given a menial job in the force.
He claims he is innocent of the accusations, saying that he had made up stories and bragged about his time in Ukraine to friends.
Czech politicians have joined in the widespread international condemnation
of the tragic Easter attacks in Sri Lanka.
President Miloš Zeman called the attacks “monstrous”, offering heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed and injured. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš likewise expressed shock over the news saying an attack against believers who had come together to celebrate Easter Sunday was “unbelievable” and “unacceptable”.
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček said he was appalled by the tragedy and stressed that the Czech government was ready to help in whatever way possible. Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček also condemned the attacks, offering condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
According to local police sources the number of people killed in the attacks has now reached 290 with at least 500 people injured.
The Czech Foreign Ministry said it had no news so far indicating that Czech nationals may have been among those killed or injured. It said any Czechs in need on the island should turn to the Czech Embassy in Delhi for help.
Imam Leonid Kushnarenko, head of the Prague Muslim Community, has been
removed from office and expelled from the community. Both the Czech Muslim
Community and its Prague branch distanced themselves from Kushnarenko after
he posted a call on Facebook for Muslims to arm themselves in response to
the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The head of the Czech Muslim Community Munib Alvari said the vote to expel Kushnarenko had been unanimous. Kushnarenko, who on Facebook offered to help any community members who wanted to acquire an arms license to protect their lives and property, said he would not appeal the decision and said it was important for emotions to subside.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has welcomed the news that the
last IS enclave in Baghuz, eastern Syria, has been taken.
He added however that the fight against international terrorism was not definitively over and said the Czech Republic was ready to cooperate with its allies to help end the conflict in Syria by all the means at its disposal.
The Czech Republic is the only EU member state that operates an embassy in Syria where it also represents the interests of the US.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly denounced Czech
President Miloš Zeman’s claims that Turkey was a de facto ally of the
Islamic State. The ministry’s spokesman said the statements are false and
insulting, both to the country and its president.
The Czech head of state said on Tuesday that despite seeking EU membership and being a NATO member, Turkey had served as a mediator in logistics operations for the Islamic State when it occupied parts of Syria and Iraq.
President Zeman also accused his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of pursuing a policy of Islamizing his country.
Prague’s Muslim Community has distanced itself from statements made by
its new chairman, Leonid Kušnarenko. In a video posted on his Facebook
profile he offered to help members of the community to acquire firearms. He
made the offer in response to the recent terrorist attack on Muslims in New
Zealand’s Christchurch and a growing anti-Islamic mood in the Czech
The Prague Muslim Community said that any statements made by Mr. Kušnarenko expressed his views alone and did not represent the attitude of Muslims in the capital or elsewhere in the Czech Republic.
In connection with the terrorist attack in New Zealand’s Christchurch,
the Czech minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček, says the country’s
police force are investigating all instances of people expressing approval
on the internet of criminal acts. Mr. Hamáček said on Twitter that
officers had begun monitoring such cases on Friday.
Police chief Jan Švejdar said that the force would not tolerate any expressions of agreement with terrorism, extremism or hate speech. Czech police have responded to internet hate speech in the past, including in late 2017, when they dealt with cases of vitriol directed at a photo of a mixed-race group of primary school children.
Forty-nine people were murdered and dozens more were seriously injured in a gun attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.