Islamic terrorists disguised as beach vendors may be targeting southern European beaches where vacationers gather in droves during the hot summer months, according to German security services.
The terrorists would be preparing to use weapons and explosives amidst sun beds and umbrellas, according to reports Tuesday from the German daily newspaper Das Bild. One senior German security official said: “This may be the way that ISIS is conceiving a new dimension of terror. The beaches cannot be protected.”
Southern Europeans are used to the ubiquitous presence of hawkers of sunglasses, beachwear, CDs and jewelry who walk along beaches plying their wares. In Italy, the vendors are known as “extracomunitari,” a word for those whose dress and skin color immediately identify them as foreigners, usually Africans, literally from outside the European community.
Citing German security service officials, Das Bild warns of possible acts of terror being planned on European beaches, particularly in the south of France, Italy and Spain. The newspaper also claims that the Italian secret service provided the information to their German counterpart.
Last week the police from Senegal launched a similar alarm, cautioning that ISIS militants could be planning attacks on Italian beaches disguised as roaming beach vendors. The captain of the Senegalese police, Seck Pouye, noted that the jihadis train just a few miles away from certain resorts, and specifically cautioned: “They want to strike Italian, French and Spanish beaches. They will exploit certain radicalized vendors who travel regularly between Italy and Senegal, apparently for work.”
Last summer a group of Islamic State militants attacked European vacationers at two different resorts in Sousse, Tunisia. The attacks left 37 dead and many more wounded, among them Belgians, British and Germans.
Similar attacks have been carried out in recent years at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheik, in Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.
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