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Czech spy agency warns of a threat of attack by militants

Associated Press Associated Press 1/09/2016

PRAGUE — Islamic radicals could carry out an attack on Czech territory, The Czech Republic's counter-intelligence agency said on Thursday.

The agency, known as BIS, said in its annual report that such a threat comes from militants linked to the Islamic State group and also from the Nusra Front.

The announcement comes after a wave of attacks in Western Europe.

BIS said that according to its information, seven Muslims who were in the Czech Republic for an unspecified period of time left in 2015 with the aim of joining extremist groups in Syria, especially the Islamic State movement and Nusra — which has renamed itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham since announcing its split from al-Qaida.

The agency said their return to the country would pose a "serious security threat." It said the findings have been shared with authorities at home and abroad.

There is only a small Muslim community in the Czech Republic, and BIS said that with few exceptions, its members have publicly condemned Islamic State activities.

Czech authorities recently said they have carried out their first investigation of a Czech national who allegedly attempted to join the Islamic State group in Syria and was arrested in Turkey.

The BIS report also said that Chinese and especially Russian spies were active in the Czech Republic last year.

It said the Russians among others were trying to secretly infiltrate Czech media and the Internet and massively spread disinformation and propaganda to harm relations with NATO and the United States and support extremists groups to create tension in society.

The number of spies under diplomatic cover at the Russian embassy in Prague is excessively high compared with the embassies of other superpowers, such are the United States and China, the report said.

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