Slovakia arrest over threat to copy Prague attack

Aftermath of the mass shooting on 22 December 2023 in Prague, Czech Republic
Image caption,Police quickly sealed the scene of Thursday’s shooting in central Prague

By Rob Cameron

BBC News

Police in Slovakia say they have arrested a man who had threatened to carry out a massacre similar to Thursday’s mass shooting in Prague.

They say a 64-year-old was held in the northern city of Zilina after he called emergency services claiming he intended to do “what happened in Prague”.

He now faces prosecution for spreading general alarm, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

On Thursday a student opened fire at a Prague university, killing 14 people.

Czech police have also made a number of arrests since the shooting.

One man had called emergency services the same evening to say he wanted to acquire a gun to carry out a similar massacre.

Police released video showing officers armed with automatic weapons breaking down his apartment door shortly afterwards and arresting him.

Another man was arrested after threatening to kill the surviving members of the gunman’s family. Police said they had recovered a legally-held weapon at his home in the Vysocina region southeast of Prague.

On Friday night officers were called to a village in the western Plzen region after a man threatened to shoot his neighbours. He was arrested, but found to be drunk and unarmed.

There have been several more security incidents, amid a general sense of public unease since the killings.

An armed response unit was sent to Prague’s busy IP Pavlova intersection on Friday evening after reports of a man holding a grenade. Pyrotechnic experts called to the scene said the weapon was an imitation.

Two men – described by the media as foreigners – were arrested. Tram and road traffic was temporarily halted, and metro trains did not stop at the station until police gave the all-clear.

On Saturday evening, meanwhile, Prague Airport’s Terminal 2 was briefly evacuated after an “English-speaking man” called police to say there were five bombs planted at the airport. Flights were not affected and the terminal was reopened after being swept for explosives.

Most Czechs celebrate Christmas on 24 December. This year’s festivities are taking place immediately after a day of national mourning for Thursday’s victims. President Petr Pavel urged people to think of those who had lost loved ones.

“Let us respect their pain and not leave them to suffer it alone,” he said in a statement.

“Our solidarity, help, but also tact and consideration will give them the strength to gradually cope with this situation.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *