A RECORD numbers of Britons are flocking to Spain in a bid to avoid holiday Islamic terror hotspots. Huge crowds packed the beaches around Benidorm this week after shunning resorts in Tunisia and Turkey over fears of another Islamic terror attack. However, the Iberian country is facing its highest level of terror threat in more than 10 years, with UK holidaymakers being warned they are “high value” targets for Muslim terrorists.
Express (h/t David Y) Many of those are families returning to traditional holiday spots on Spain’s southern coast over safety fears, after 30 Britons were gunned down in Tunisia. Around 300,000 Britons who had been planning to visit Tunisia had to rebook their holidays at the last minute after the Government advised against all travel to the north African state.
Muslim terrorist Seifeddine Rezgui got high on cocaine before opening fire on innocent civilians as they lay on the beaches surrounding their hotels. It was also thought that last-minute bookings to Greece are down this summer, with people being put off by the country’s debt crisis.
Instead holidaymakers are turning to Spain, swelling the ranks of the 12 million Britons who flock to the country each year to soak up the sun. Spain has received record numbers of tourists this year, with 29.2 million visitors descending on the country already.
However, it is on the frontline of the battle against Isis itself, with security forces having to disrupt groups plotting deadly attacks in Europe and recruiting people to join extremists in Syria and Iraq. As a result, the Foreign Office raised the terror threat level in Spain to “high” in June – just before the Tunisian beach massacre which shocked the world.
A spokesman said: “There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz has warned that the country faces its highest level of terror threat since the 2004 train bombing in Madrid.
A total of 191 people were killed and nearly 2,000 injured when a series of bombs were detonated on four commuter trains. An official investigation into the incident determined that the attacks were directed by an al-Qaeda-inspired terror cell.
Mr Fernandez Diaz said: “We are at the maximum alert level since the attacks of March 11, 2004, in Madrid.” He added that the “level 4 alert [out of a maximum of 5] corresponds to a reality”.
“The situation in Iraq and Syria means there is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict.