Rome, April 19 April (IANS/AKI) The Islamic State jihadist group is planning massacres of tourists vacationing on Europe’s Mediterranean coast this summer, German tabloid Bild reported Tuesday, citing Italian and German intelligence chiefs.
IS will deploy suicide bombers and gunmen disguised as beach hawkers and plant bombs beneath sunbeds at Italian, Spanish and French resorts, taking advantage of lax security, according to Bild.
Germany’s BND intelligence service learned of the terror plans from its Italian counterpart, which was informed of the plot by a “credible” source in Africa, the daily said.
The threat stems from the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, whose leadership has allied itself with IS and plans to use sympathisers to carry out attacks on crowded, unguarded beachfronts, Bild said.
“It is understood that regular African travellers to Europe, who so far have disguised their loyalty to the fanatics will be activated for the murder campaign,” the daily said.
“It could be a whole new dimension of terror. Holiday beaches cannot be protected,” Bild cited an unnamed high-ranking official as saying.
African hawkers travel to Europe regularly to work selling ice creams, drinks and snacks and beach accessories at Spanish, French and Italian resorts in the Mediterranean and are issued with visas and documents.
Contacted by Adnkronos, Italian security sources denied concrete intelligence existed that IS was plotting attacks like those it claimed at the popular Tunisian beach resort of Sousse, where 38 tourists were shot dead last June.
“This report is baseless. It is a fanciful scenario and there is no evidence to indicate plots of this kind are being hatched,” the sources said.