Czech Republic condemns terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils

Las Ramblas, Barcelona, August 18, 2017, photo: CTK

The Czech Republic has expressed solidarity with Spain and offered condolences following Thursday’s terrorist attack on the Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona, and a later attack in Cambrils. In the attacks, at least 14 people lost their lives.

Las Ramblas,  Barcelona,  August 18,  2017,  photo: CTK
Victims of the terrorist attack on Las Ramblas, in which a van ploughed mercilessly into pedestrians, were citizens of at least 24 countries and children were among the victims. On Friday morning, Czech officials, including Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, were quick to condemn the attack; the prime minister called it an attack on innocent people and expressed compassion for the victims.

President Miloš Zeman sent his condolences to the Spanish head of state, while the speaker of the lower house Jan Hamáček made clear no anti-terrorism measures were 100 percent foolproof. The Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday at noon, that no Czechs had been reported among the injured or the dead.

In Spain, a minute of silence was held for those who had lost their lives. Prior to the minute of silence, the Czech consul in Barcelona, Adéla Sýkorová, described the situation on the ground.

“Czech citizens in the centre of town were able to get back to their things. Metro and rail was operational on Friday only until noon to the very city centre and Catalan Square; otherwise, transport and traffic resumed like any other day.”

Richard Hladík is a Czech tour guide who is very familiar with Las Ramblas; he told Czech Radio he often began tours of the city there himself:

Police officers tell members of the public to leave the scene in a street in Barcelona,  August 17,  2017,  photo: CTK
“Las Ramblas is one of the oldest newer boulevards here in Barcelona. It’s a place that visitors simply have to see; the Miro mosaic, where the van finally stopped, is exactly the spot where I often begin tours.”

As has been the case following other terrorist attacks, the Czech Republic, too has assessed current threat levels. For the moment, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said there was no reason to believe the threat here had increased. He said that the current level, meaning one of heightened vigilance would remain the same.

“According to information we currently have, there is no evidence of anything leading to the Czech Republic so we are keeping the threat level at 1, meaning increased vigilance.”

The terrorism threat scale in the Czech Republic has four levels, from zero to three, with three representing a high probability of an attack.