Bells to ring in tribute to killed Czech soldiers

Czech flag in Afghanistan. Photo: Ministry of Defense
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President will give posthumous medals to soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Prague, July 9 (ČTK) — Bells will be ringing and sirens will be clanging at noon on Thursday to pay tribute to the four Czech soldiers who were killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the government decided today, and President Miloš Zeman will award them Heroism Medals.

The ministers observed a minute of silence at the beginning of their meeting today. They decided that a national day of mourning will not be declared.

 “The government recommends that sirens should be sounding all over the Czech Republic at 12:00 CEST on Thursday, July 10, for a period of three minutes and it also recommends that bells should be ringing at the same time, for people to commemorate the Czech soldiers,” says a government resolution.

Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka said the bell of the St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle would be ringing at noon, too. He called on believers to pray for the dead soldier and the injured.

A special flight with the bodily remains of the dead soldiers is to return to the Czech Republic at 13:00 on Thursday. It will leave for Afghanistan at around 22:00 today.

The soldier who was seriously wounded in the attack at the Bagram base in the east of Afghanistan will not be transported to the Czech Republic for the time being because his condition does not allow this.

Zeman announced his decision to award the fallen soldiers with Heroism Medals at a press conference after his meeting with Slovak head of state Andrej Kiska, who expressed his and Slovakia's deep sympathy on the soldiers' death to their families.

The Czech flag at the presidential seat would be flying at half mast and a black flag would be hoisted at the Prague Castle on Thursday, Zeman's spokesman said.

A mourning ceremony will be held after the soldiers' remains land at the military airport in Prague-Kbely, in which also Zeman will take part.

The military has offered to the dead men's families that they would organize a military funeral. The soldiers will probably be promoted in memoriam.

Three of the dead Czech soldiers were members of the 43rd Airborne battalion from Chrudim, east Bohemia. The battalion’s parade was held at the Chrudim air field today to pay respect to them.


 This story has been updated with additional information
 
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