Czech Republic on high-alert: intelligence points to possible terrorism threat

Photo: CTK

Czechs woke up on Saturday morning to the news of a possible terrorist threat against this country. The reports came on the heels of the arrest of four people in Norway last Friday, where police uncovered a plot that was to blow up synagogues, as well as the American and Israeli embassies in Oslo. Within hours the Czech government held a cabinet meeting and decided to implement massive security precautions that took effect in the early hours of Saturday. The Czech capital remains on high-alert.

Photo: CTK
Monday marks the third day of massive security measures that are in effect in Prague. As of 4:00am on Saturday, hundreds of police officers have been installed around Prague's strategic sites, guarding what are considered possible targets for a terrorist attack. The city's Ruzyne airport is also taking what are being described as "massive security measures," though flights are operating on schedule. Intelligence reports—the details of which have not been made public—have the country's secret service and police on high-alert. Policemen are patrolling the streets with automatic rifles in addition to their regular 9mm handguns, but people are calm and going about their daily business.

Photo: CTK
Over the weekend, Interior Minister Ivan Langer told the public that this is the first time ever that the Czech Republic has had to face such a serious terrorist threat. Earlier today, I spoke to Ivan Langer by phone and he described the situation as it stands:

Interior Minister Ivan Langer,  photo: CTK
"The situation is based on information that we have received, and this information is very serious—the most serious since 1992. The reports mention a high risk of a possible terrorist attack, so we decided to arrange the security operations. The operations are organized on three levels: the visible, less visible, and invisible."

What can you tell me about reports that say that Prague's Jewish town of Josefov is under the most serious threat?

"I'm very sorry, but I can not comment on such information."

Alright. In terms of developments that we can expect in the next few days, how long would you say that the high-alert watch will be kept in effect?

"Well, we are evaluating the incoming information, and we are ready to change the security operation, but right now I don't have any information about changing our position."