The Spanish government has released a new report claiming members of Islamic State could be targeting coastal resort towns to carry out large-scale massacres of tourists.
The coastal resort towns of Spain are popular with British, German, and other tourists across Europe and may be under threat according to the Spanish government. The government’s National Security report states Islamic State has increased its recruiting efforts in Spain and has started publishing more propaganda in Spanish leading to the increased warning over possible future attacks, De Telegraaf reports.
The report highlights several factors including cyber security and claim that the terror group will likely launch more cyber attacks in the near future that would target critical infrastructure in the country. In 2016, there were 21,000 incidents of cyber attacks – up 15 per cent from 2015. Of those around 3.6 per cent were considered to be serious security threats.
The terror group is also said to have launched a campaign last summer to procure more Spanish translators to help spread their jihadist propaganda on social media. The increase in Spanish propaganda “implies an increase of the risk of its influence on the radicals installed in our country,” the report notes.
While no specific geographical targets have been named by the terror group, the report notes an attack would put the civil aviation sector at risk due to the possible effect on the global economy.
Spain has maintained a high alert status across the entire country and is presently at threat level 4. This means authorities believe there is a potential attack risk, though no official or specific plans have been discovered.
In 2016, the government carried out 36 police operations which led to the arrest of 69 people who are alleged to have connections to terrorist groups.
Also mentioned was the increased migration of African migrants into Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Over the past year, both areas have seen migrants break through or climb over the large border fences in an effort to claim asylum in the European Union (EU). In one instance earlier this year, over a thousand migrants stormed Ceuta in one day.
Last month in the enclave, two people were arrested by police accused of having connections to Islamic State. The Interior Ministry did not give out the identities of those arrested but did note that many of the 180 arrests of individuals linked to the terror group over the last two years occurred in Ceuta.