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Czech Ikea stores emptied by bomb scare

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10:13 CEST+02:00
Police evacuated two Prague-based stores of Swedish furniture giant Ikea on Friday after defusing a booby-trapped device found near one of them, a spokeswoman said.

"Employees of an Ikea store in Zlicin (a western Prague suburb) found a suspicious package in the trash around 12:30 pm" (1030 GMT), spokeswoman Eva Stulikova said.

"It turned out to be a booby-trapped device that may have been alive," the spokeswoman said. It was defused by a police mine clearance expert.

Police then evacuated the Zlicin store and another at Cerny Most, an eastern suburb, as a precaution.

The latest scare comes after a string of small explosions at European Ikea stores.

On June 10, a blast in the kitchen equipment department of a store in Dresden, Germany, reportedly left two customers needing hospital treatment, while booby-trapped alarm clocks blew up at Ikea stores in Belgium, France and the Netherlands on May 30, but caused no damage or injuries.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Media reports have said that German police were probing a theory that the blasts may have targeted Ikea's 85-year-old founder Ingvar Kamprad over well-known Nazi sympathies in his youth.

Ikea has four stores in the Czech Republic, two in Prague, one in Brno 200 kilometres (125 miles) southeast of the capital, and a fourth in Ostrava some 350 kilometres east of Prague.

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