Czech Officials: Synagogue Plot May Be Linked to Oslo Attacks

Czech paper reports captives planned to hold dozens of Jews hostage, then kill them when broad demands were not met.

PRAGUE - Czech security services were investigating Friday a possible link between fresh terror threats made by radical Muslims to kill Jews in Prague and the arrest of a Pakistani citizen around two weeks ago in Oslo.

Islamic extremists planned to kidnap dozens of Jews in Prague and hold them hostage before murdering them, the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported on Friday.

The Pakistani man is suspected of having been involved in a group that shot at a synagogue in Oslo, as well as planning an attack on Israel's ambassador to Norway, Miriam Shomrat.

The Czech Republic's leading newspaper quoted unidentified sources close to intelligence agencies as saying the captives would have been held in a Prague synagogue while the captors made broad demands that they knew could not be fulfilled.

When those demands - which were not specified by the sources - were not met, the extremists would blow up the building, killing all who were inside, the paper added.

The paper, which gave other few details, did not say whether any arrests were made and did not specify the identities of the extremists.

Czech Chief Rabbi Ephraim Sidon said that the attack had been planned against the Jerusalem Synagogue in central Prague, and not against the highly-concentrated tourist attractions in the old Jewish Quarter.

On September 23 the government deployed armed guards around dozens of buildings and on the streets in the Czech capital after security services issued a warning that an unspecified attack was imminent.

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and government officials have since refused to divulge details of what kind of attack they feared in Prague.

"I am not authorized to provide any information in this case," the paper quoted Topolanek as saying when asked about the information given by the sources.

"Concurrent with the government decision, I only continue to insist that the measures and the extent of information supplied to the public were, and are in proportion to the information obtained [by intelligence officials] and to the threat."

The Czech Republic has a small military unit in Afghanistan and military police instructors in Iraq.

Prague has not been a target of terrorist attacks in the past, although strict security precautions were taken several years ago to protect the downtown headquarters of U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe.

The country's once-flourishing Jewish community was decimated during World War Two.