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Czech intelligence, police in touch with Norwegian investigators over attack

Prague, 26.7.2011 14:25, (ROMEA)

The Czech Security Information Service (Bezpečnostní informační služba - BIS) is in contact with their partners in Norway and is answering their questions. Jan Šubert, spokesperson for BIS, gave that information to the Czech Press Agency yesterday. Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man who has confessed to committing Friday's massacre in Norway, allegedly visited Prague last year with the aim of procuring weapons, but Šubert did not want to give specifics as to the questions BIS is answering. Norwegian Police have not officially contacted the Czech Republic regarding the investigation yet, but the Organized Crime Detection Unit (Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu - ÚOOZ) is sifting through some information for the Norwegians.

"We are answering their questions and if we have any information we are of course providing it. That's our responsibility, especially when Prague is being spoken of in connection with this case," the BIS spokesperson said. However, he did not want to say what precisely the Norwegians were asking or what BIS had answered. "The communication is on the topic of that case," he said generally.

News server iDNES.cz has reported that the Czech Police are investigating, at the request of the Norwegians, whether the terrorist Breivik, who spent six days at the end of August and start of September in Prague, was in contact with either arms dealers or extremists in the capital. In court, Breivik warned that there are "two other cells" in his organization. In his book, published online, he lists organizations who could be his potential allies, including the Czech neo-Nazis in National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO) and the now-defunct National Party (Národní strana - NS).

"The Norwegians are concerned that Breivik has accomplices throughout Europe. That is why they have asked us and other states for assistance," a highly-positioned police source told iDNES.cz.

"On the basis of a request from the Norwegian side we are sifting through some information as part of our international communications, which is not unusual for us," Pavel Hanták, spokesperson for the ÚOOZ, told the Czech Press Agency. He also refused to be more specific about what kind of information the Norwegians are interested in and denied a report that the Norwegians had made an official request for cooperation in investigating Friday's tragedy.

Jan Melša, spokesperson for the Czech Police Presidium, confirmed to the Czech Press Agency that the Czech and Norwegian Police are in touch as part of their customary international collaboration. Melša said that the security measures introduced on Friday in the Czech Republic as a result of the attack are being "kept to a minimum."

Updated figures report that Friday's tragedy, which took place in Oslo and the nearby island of Utöya, cost 76 people their lives. The information about Breivik's stay in Prague and his intention to acquire weapons in the Czech capital comes from excerpts of his extensive manifesto, which is making the rounds on the internet. According to the manifesto, he spent several days in Prague, evidently at the end of August and start of September 2010. He is said to have visited Prague because it was reportedly an ideal place to illegally obtain drugs and weapons. However, after several days he changed his opinion and decided to procure weapons in Norway.

Czech Police took increased security measures on Friday in connection with the terrorist attacks in Oslo. Patrols were preemptively sent to international airports and the vicinity of buildings important to the running of the state.

Today Melša said police have cut back on those measures. Airports, for example, have returned to their usual regime. "We are currently concentrating only on strategically important buildings, like government buildings," he said. "For the time being we are still evaluating the situation and we are prepared to respond in case of need."

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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