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Czech soldiers sacked for Nazi insignia

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Two elite Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been fired for wearing Nazi insignia on their helmets, Defense Minister Martin Bartak announced Tuesday.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting in Prague, Bartak said the two soldiers, Hynek Matonoha and Jan Cermak, as well as their commander, Petr Prochazka, have been sacked after a Czech newspaper ran a photo of Cermak wearing a helmet adorned with the symbol of the SS Dirlewanger Brigade --- one of the most infamous Nazi combat units of World War II, Ceske Noviny reported.

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The newspaper said both soldiers, members of the Czech rapid reaction brigade deployed in Afghanistan, were forced to leave the military without retirement allowance or severance pay. Bartak had said this week he would take tough strong measures against extremism in the military and has fired another soldier who reportedly admitted to planning abductions of "Jews in high posts."

The two soldiers' commander was suspended after allegedly ordering the Nazi insignia and photographs of them be burned.

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