Spain is stepping up its anti-terror security measures with an additional 40,000 officers from the National Police and Guardia Civil being deployed to tourist destinations and other important locations for the 2019 summer season.
Named ‘Operation Summer’, the initiative will run from July 1st to September 30th in the Balearic Islands, though other destinations included in the deployment will end a month earlier on August 31st.
During the period of Operation Summer a greater security presence may be observed at transportation terminals, beaches and other key locations, however there should be no disruption to travel or other plans as a result.
The move by the Spanish authorities is not thought to be in reaction to any specific new terror threat. Spain has remained on terror alert level four ‘high’ since 2015. The maximum level is five, ‘very high’.
The plan by Spain’s Interior Ministry includes “strengthening actions to obtain information on the prevention of terrorist acts”, with special attention to the threat of jihadist terrorism, according to reports. in the UK press.
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has not changed its travel advice for Britons in light of Operation Summer, though the wording of the existing travel advice for holidaymakers to Spain is already written in fearful language.
British Foreign & Commonwealth Advice for Travel to Spain.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Spain. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. The Spanish authorities take measures to protect visitors, but you should be vigilant and follow the instructions of the local authorities.
On 17/18 August 2017, there were 2 terrorist-related incidents where vehicles were driven directly at pedestrians, resulting in injuries and loss of life. These were in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona and Cambrils, near Salou (100km southwest of Barcelona).
The Basque terrorist organisation ETA’s last major attack was in 2006 and it hasn’t mounted any attacks since 2009. In May 2018 it announced it was “disbanding”. British nationals have not been a target of ETA terrorism.
Spanish police have disrupted a number of groups suspected of recruiting individuals to travel to Syria and Iraq from 2015 to the present date. Some of them expressed an intention to carry out attacks in Europe.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Terrorism Advice Elsewhere
Though Spain is considered a ‘likely’ target for attacks, this may more accurately reflect the nature of global terrorism than any specific likelihood of attack to Spain.
France trumps Spain’s ’likely’ with ’terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in France’, Germany also gets the ‘very likely’ warning’, ditto the USA, and it is hard to consider Britain being awarded anything less if it used the same risk assessment on itself. Even non-confrontational countries such as Demark get a ‘terrorism can’t be ruled out’ warning. Despite the British press’ attempts to hype up the situation, on balance Spain’s status seems a whole lot more reassuring than many other European countries.