Beaches in Italy, Spain, and France are targets for attacks in the coming months, according to intelligence chiefs, with terrorists posing as vendors and placing bombs under sunbeds.
German tabloid Bild cited a source in the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) who said the German intelligence agency received information from their Italian counterparts which suggests that Islamic State (IS) is plotting to strike at European holiday resorts with terrorists disguising themselves as people selling goods on beaches.
It is claimed that the intelligence comes from a “credible source” in Africa. The source claims the terrorists have formed “concrete plans” to launch the attacks.
A senior German security official told Bild: “It is possible that Isis is conceiving a new terror dimension in this way. The beaches cannot be protected.”
Bild said beaches which could be targeted include resorts in southern France, the Costa del Sol in Spain, and both coasts of Italy.
It said plans involve the use of automatic weapons on crowded waterfronts, suicide bombings, and explosive devices buried in sand beneath sun loungers.
Bild said IS hoped to send jihadists to tourist resorts posing as refreshment vendors. The threat comes from the IS-allied group Boko Haram, the newspaper said.
Last year, 38 people, including three Irish tourists, died when a gunman opened fire on a beach in Tunisia.
Meanwhile, police say they have arrested a Moroccan man who has alleged strong links to the IS armed group and who was pushing for attacks to be carried out in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
A statement said the man was arrested in Palma de Mallorca city on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, where he lived.
It said the detainee poses “a clear threat to national security”, given that he used the internet to promote recruitment for IS, help send potential combatants abroad, and encourage attacks in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
It said he maintained close contact with IS leaders in Syria.
Spanish police have arrested dozens of suspected jihadi recruiters in recent years.
Belgian authorities are investigating information that suggests IS has sent more fighters to Europe as Belgium remains on high alert following last month’s suicide bombings in Brussels.
“Signals appear to suggest that IS has again sent fighters to Europe, to our country,” said Paul Van Tigchelt, head of Belgium’s security threat analysis centre.
Belgium has been on at least its second-highest alert level for four months — since the week after the November 13 attacks in Paris — with troops and extra police mobilised.
Airports, rail stations, nuclear plants, and buildings housing radioactive materials are under close surveillance, while security is high at soft targets such as shopping centres and cinemas.