Bodies of Czech soldiers killed in Afghanistan returned home
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The bodies of three Czech soldiers killed in a suicide bombing claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan were on Wednesday returned home.
Staff sergeant Martin Marcin, 36, and corporals Kamil Benes, 28, and Patrik Stepanek, 25, died while on patrol in the east of the country while a US member of the patrol and two Afghan soldiers were also wounded.
The attack was the deadliest assault on NATO soldiers in many months.
Sirens were blown, flags on government buildings flew at half mast and church bells rang as the three coffins wrapped in Czech flags were repatriated.
"We have witnessed a tragedy that can hardly be prevented when you serve in the army," Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar told reporters after a ceremony at Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport.
The attack against the Resolute Support soldiers by a lone bomber on foot happened in the city of Charikar in Parwan province 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Kabul early on Sunday morning.
The Taliban claimed responsibility in a statement, saying they killed or wounded eight American soldiers in a "tactical explosion".
"Nothing has changed about the army's activity, we continue to fulfil our tasks, our commanders in Afghanistan continue to fulfil theirs," said deputy chief-of-staff Jiri Baloun.
Thirteen Czech soldiers have been killed in NATO missions in Afghanistan.