The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a warning urging Czech citizens traveling or vacationing in Tunisia to avoid areas outside of their hotels such as public markets, bars, restaurants and other sites where large numbers of people congregate. The ministry is also offering travelers the opportunity to register at its website. The warning comes after Friday's terrorist attack in Sousse where a lone gunman opened fire on vacationers with an assault rifle. Thirty-eight people, mostly tourists but also locals, died in the massacre. The Czech Foreign Ministry said that travelers needed to avoid border areas near Libya or Algeria, where the risk of kidnapping is high. According to the ministry, areas west of the line of Jendouba, Le Kef, Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, Tozeur, and south of Tozeur, Kebili, Medenine and Zarzine are high-risk. There are fears not only of possible abductions but of additional attacks against Western targets.
Some 40 Czech nationals who were vacationing in Sousse, Tunisia, just 150 metres from where a gunman opened fire on vacationers with a kalashnikov on Friday, have made clear they want to return home to the Czech Republic as soon as possible. One of the Czechs told the Czech News Agency that most did not want to be in the country a single day after a cold-blooded killer gunned down dozens of westerners and locals at the seaside. Thirty-eight people were killed; there were no Czech victims. Czech diplomacy has recommended a government plane be sent to facilitate the Czechs' return but that is being reported as unlikely. The Foreign Ministry is instead cooperating with travel agencies to try and secure places on earlier return flights which are now largely booked up.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told Czech TV he understood why Czech tourists in the vicinity of the tragedy could hardly continue with their vacations, saying diplomatic staff had been boosted in Tunisia to provide assistance. The Association of Czech Travel Agents said on Saturday that some 30 Czechs wanted to return out of 3,000 or so vacationing in Tunisia. Czech travel agencies have been offering clients at home the chance to still change pre-paid destinations. In some cases, they have offered refunds.
The prime minister has called a meeting of the National Security Council on Sunday evening to assess the latest developments and potential threats to the security of the Czech Republic. The illegal migrants crisis as well as terrorist attacks in three countries on Friday are the two main issues to be addressed. The Czech Republic has already increased checks of travelers along railway and other major routes and could reinstate full border controls with the help of the Czech Army should the country see a dramatic rise in the number of illegal migrants. Currently, countries such as Greece and Italy are bearing the brunt as entry points for illegal migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Security at key sites, including airports in the Czech Republic, have meanwhile been boosted in response to terrorist attacks in three countries including Tunisia on Friday which killed dozens of people including both vacationers and locals.
The Czech Republic saw a 42 percent rise in the number of illegal migrants, some 2,500, since the beginning of the year, according to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. He made the statement on a Sunday TV debate show, adding that the Czech Republic has recently increased controls. He also said the country would increase the capacity of existing asylum seeker centres, saying that the opening of a facility in Vyšná Lhota was "very likely".
Former political prisoners as well as Justice Minister Robert Pelikán honoured the memory of Milada Horáková in Prague on Saturday, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of her death. The democratic politician was the victim of an infamous Stalinist-era show trial in Communist Czechoslovakia, where she was found guilty - on trumped up charges - of conspiracy and treason. She was executed on June 27, 1950. The justice minister characterised Mrs Horáková's heroism as "quiet and uncompromising". The ceremony took place at the memorial site at Pankrác Prison.
Two people, the captain and a passenger, were injured when their ultralight plane crashed in the Brno region on Saturday afternoon. Both were transferred to hospital. The damage is still being assessed and the cause of the accident is under investigation.
According to the daily The Telegraph, football club Arsenal will announce the signing of goalkeeper Petr Čech on Monday. The legendary Czech keeper, the news site reports, passed his medical on Friday after he and the club agreed financial terms. Čech played 11 years for Chelsea, helping the club to countless trophies, including the Champions League in 2012. The deal with London rivals Arsenal is being seen as highly unorthodox and is being rued by some Chelsea fans and commentators. Čech lost his spot as No. 1 goalkeeper at Chelsea last season to Thibaut Courtois.
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