Press review

Massacre in Madrid, photo: CTK

The outcome of the Spanish elections in the light of the Madrid massacre, the security situation in Europe and President Putin's election victory in Russia -those are the lead stories on today's front pages. Election terror brings Spaniards to the polls, says a headline in Lidove Noviny. "It was Al Qaeda" reads the headline in today's Pravo, while Mlada Fronta Dnes has picked a horrifying quote from the Al Qaeda videotape acknowledging responsibility for the massacre "we like dying as much as you like living".

Massacre in Madrid,  photo: CTK
The terrorist bombings in Madrid have reminded us of the fact that there is a war going on, says Mlada Fronta Dnes. And that war concerns us as much as anyone else. New York and Madrid are not as far away as they may seem and it is imperative that at this hour we stand by Spain - both in terms of sympathy and as NATO members. It would be counterproductive and humiliating to let fear lessen our commitment to the anti-terrorist alliance.

Police officers
All the papers report on the heightened security measures being taken in the Czech Republic: stricter controls at border crossings, more security around key sites and institutions and more officers out in the streets. Lidove Noviny says the interior ministry will implement stricter criteria in granting visas to nationals from high risk countries while Pravo reports that the police will patrol the streets with dogs trained to detect explosives.

The Czech Republic must be on the alert, says Mlada Fronta Dnes. On the one hand there is the possibility of the country being used a as a temporary base by terrorists who had close links to it before the fall of communism. At the same time, today the country is an active member of the anti-terrorist alliance and has just sent a special unit to Afghanistan to help seek out members of bin Ladin's terrorist network. We could easily become a target, the paper notes.

Hospodarske Noviny says that while it is difficult to prevent attacks such as those in Madrid, Europe is doing shamefully little to avert such tragedies at present. The paper notes that one area over which Europe seems to have very little control is the illegal trade in explosives.

Just a few weeks ago a truck loaded with illegal explosives passed through several European states without any problems at all, Hospodarske Noviny says. This shocking fact came to light when the Czech police confiscated over 300 tons of explosives last week. The shipment came from Scandinavia -where the explosives from military stocks were supposed to have been eliminated -but were instead sold abroad by a private firm.