An alleged sympathiser with the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik was charged by police yesterday on suspicion he had been planning to carry out a series of copycat terrorist attacks in the Czech Republic.
The 29-year-old unnamed suspect was charged with unlawful possession of weapons and endangering the public after he was arrested at his home in the Czech northern city of Ostrava following a tip-off from concerned neighbours. "We are working with the idea that the suspect probably sympathises with known murderer Anders Breivik from Norway," Tomas Tuhy, the regional police director supervising the arrest, told reporters.
Police confirmed a commando unit carried out a raid on his home on 10 August and arrested him, after 80 residents in neighbouring flats were evacuated. Officers said they had not been able to announce his arrest earlier due to security reasons.
During the raid, a large arms cache was allegedly found in the suspect's home, including automatic weapons, a bomb, a remote control detonator, 400 rounds of ammunition, as well as police uniforms and masks. The suspect had also used Breivik's name in internet postings and emails, it was claimed.
Ostrava police chief Radovan Votja said it was still not clear who or what the man was planning to target but he believed the arms cache suggested an attack was imminent. "The components of the explosive device were operational," he said.
He added the suspect had five previous convictions, one of which was for blowing up a wooden shed. He was also given a six-month suspended term for trying to detonate a homemade device at a petrol station in Ostrava.
Neighbours said he gave them no indication he shared Breivik's right-wing extremist philosophy. The 33-year-old declared he killed 77 Norwegians on 22 July last year because he wanted to prevent a "Muslim invasion" of Norway.
Breivik detonated a bomb in the government district of Oslo, which killed eight people. He then drove to the fiord island of Utoya, north-west of the capital, and went on a shooting spree, killing 69 mostly teenaged Norwegian Labour Party members who were attending a summer youth camp. The twin attacks were Norway's worst single act of violence since the Second World War.
Breivik claimed he was part of a network. But prosecutors have said they are convinced he acted alone. His trial ended in June and judges are due to deliver their verdict this Friday.