Political positions most likely reason for petrol bomb attack on home, says defence minister

Martin Stropnický, photo: CTK

Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Prague home of Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický at the weekend. The country’s defence chief was not at his residence at the time but other members of his family were. Mr. Stropnický says little material damage was done – and that the attack was most likely politically motivated.

Martin Stropnický,  photo: CTK
At around 4 AM on Sunday morning four petrol bombs were thrown at Defence Minister Martin Stropnický’s home in Prague’s Suchdol district. The building is separated from a public road in the quiet suburb by a light metal fence.

While it is reported that none of the bottles exploded completely, one remained fully intact. Its contents were analysed by the police, who confirmed on Tuesday morning that it had contained a flammable material.

Speaking to Czech Radio, the defence chief – who had not been home at the time – said no serious harm had been done.

“Nothing happened. But of course it gave me a fright. We have an elderly grandmother living with us and naturally it wasn’t too nice for her… The material stained part of the roof and some tiles and we’ll probably never get those stains out. But those are just banal things. I don’t want to speculate about what happened, because the most important thing is that nobody was hurt.”

As for why his residence was targeted, the ANO politician said there were a broad range of possibilities, from stupidity to deep-seated political opposition. But the latter was more logical, he said.

“I hold a number of opinions, whether regarding our foreign cooperation in the defence field or on army matters, such as acquisitions. It’s common that if you get into clashes of opinion then that can provoke various degrees of indignation on the part of some people. A normal person will debate with you. However, a less normal person may decide to act like this. I think it may be connected to some of my long-term, publicly known views.”

Sunday’s attack is being investigated both by the regular police and the military police, while Minister Stropnický’s security detail has been beefed up.

Mr. Stropnický told Czech Television he had been the target of aggressive and vulgar letters and social media postings but did not take such communications seriously. He said he was unaware of any serious threats made against him.

While the petrol bomb attack on a government member’s home is unprecedented, other ministers have gotten dangerous mail.

Finance Minister and ANO chief Andrej Babiš received a package containing deadly poison late last year, a few days after cyanide was found in a letter sent to the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec.