British holidaymakers in Spain this summer are at risk from “dangerous” terror fanatics who will “strike to kill” with vehicles, knives, guns and bombs, top anti-terror experts have warned.
Security services are on red alert across Europe after evil bomber Salman Abedi slaughtered 22 innocent people at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.
Manchester is the latest European city to be rocked by a devastating terror attack after massacres in London, Stockholm, Nice, Berlin and Paris.
But security experts told Daily Star Online, Spain is far from a safe haven this summer as “highly dangerous” terror cells pose an ongoing risk.
Anthony Glees, professor of security and intelligence at Buckinghamshire University, described Spain as a hotspot for extremists looking to massacre innocents.
Daily Star Online revealed last year how Brits were a key target at top holiday resorts across the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Costa Brava.
And with its sun-kissed coastlines and glistening beaches, Spain is a draw for more than 12 million Brits every year.
But Mr Glees, Director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said its popularity also means “it’s a magnet for those who wish to harm tourists”.
He said: “Spain is very vulnerable because the weather is lovely there, the sea is warm and the vino cheap.
“It’s a magnet for tourists from all of Europe. So it’s a magnet for those who wish to harm them.”
Spain was hit with Europe’s deadliest terror attack in 2004, when Islamist militants bombed Madrid commuters – killing 191 people.
Global terror network al-Qaida – whose former leader Osama bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks – were behind the barbaric bombing.
Since then, Spain’s terror threat level has remained at “severe” – only one level below the UK, where the threat is now “critical”.
Mr Glees said the al-Qaida threat “still exists” in Spain and needs to be dealt with.
He said: “I have no doubt at all that the al-Qaida threat still exists.
“Whether it’s al-Qaida controlled by networks spread around the Islamic world or whether it’s ISIS run by Baghdadi in Raqqa, it a highly dangerous organisation that we have to take out.
“It’s highly dangerous because it will strike to kill us wherever we are in Europe.”Al-Qaida are not the only terror group threatening to murder innocent people in Spain.
Al-Qaida are not the only terror group threatening to murder innocent people in Spain.
ISIS fanatics have issued “direct threats” on Spanish tourist hotspots, according to a government report.
The Foreign Office report claimed the terror group is also recruiting translators and foreign jihadists from the country, according to the Express.
It came after the death cult issued a chilling video threat to launch terror attacks in Spain in 2016, declaring: “We will recover our land from the invaders.”
Daily Star Online warned in 2015 how a large terror network was nesting in Spain – waiting for the perfect time to attack.
Mr Glees said places such as Marbella in the Costas could be at particular risk of being targeted by extremists looking to unleash carnage.
He said terrorists are likely to employ brutal methods used in the UK, Nice and Paris – including detonating explosives and mowing down crowds with trucks.
He said: “Sometimes a fanatic armed with an SUV or lorry and a knife, perhaps a gun; or someone highly trained in bomb making as in the UK.”
But despite the threat, Mr Glees said Spain is “less vulnerable” than the UK and the intelligence services are “better than they were” in 2004.
He said: “Being in the EU gives [Spain] access to INTCEN – the all important intelligence sharing mechanism attached to the EU’s external action authority, as well as Europol and so forth.”
Security expert Margaret Gilmore, senior associate fellow at Royal United Services Institute, told Daily Star Online the threat of terror in Spain hasn’t gone away.
She said: “The al-Qaida threat in Spain hasn’t gone away. ISIS was borne out of al-Qaida.
“We live in a world where these attacks can happen anywhere. There is a will to wreak havoc across the world.
“But there is nothing to suggest there is a specific terror threat in Spain.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office told Daily Star Online: “We constantly review our travel advice for all countries.
“We will update it as quickly as possible if we’re aware of an incident that might significantly affect British people in a particular place.”