ISIS’s next target could be cruise ships in the Med: Top Nato commander says jihadists’ spread into Libya casts an ‘uncomfortable shadow’
- UK commander warns Mediterranean cruise ships could be terror targets
- Naval officer says ISIS‘s spread into Libya casts ‘uncomfortable shadow’
- Vice Admiral Johnstone claims terror factions are trying to build a navy
- They aim to wage war against West, he says onboard Spanish Nato ship
Cruise ships in the Mediterranean could be targeted in a terror attack by militant groups armed with Russian weapons, a top British commander warned yesterday.
Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, the UK’s highest naval officer in Nato, said Islamic State’s spread into Libya had cast an ‘uncomfortable shadow’ over the sea.
In stark remarks, he revealed the IS terror group are attempting to build a navy to wage war against the West.
He said there was a ‘horrible opportunity’ that a ‘very high quality weapons system’ would be used to hit ships crossing the sea, having ‘extraordinary implications’ for the Western World.
Speaking onboard a Spanish Nato ship in London yesterday, Vice Adm Johnstone said that Nato must not get ‘hustled out’ of eastern Mediterranean water space.
He said: ‘Nato mustn’t think the Mediterranean is just about immigration. It is the spread along the North African seaboard, it is the Daesh entry into Libya, it is the Daesh control of Sirte and other places, which has an uncomfortable shadow over maritime trade and maritime access.’
Conflict and revolt across the region had made it more difficult for Nato countries, including Britain, to ‘ascertain what threats are there’, he said.
He added: ‘At the same time, we are tracking the spreads of really quite capable Korean, Chinese and Russian hardware, into bodies such as Hamas and Hezbollah and other places.’
While they were not targeted at Nato or commercial shipping at the moment, he said: ‘There is a horrible opportunity in the future that a misdirected, untargeted round of a very high quality weapons system will just happen to target a cruise liner, or an oil platform, or a container ship.’
He said: ‘The eastern Mediterranean has started to become a competed space.
‘We are not in any war, we are not in any period of tension, but there are quite a lot of actors with a say there and we have just got to make sure we can access that, with all the freedom of navigation in international law we want. Does it worry me, yes, quietly it does worry me a bit.’
He said he believed an attack on ships such as cruise liners would be an act ‘which is almost a mistake…or it will be an act of random terrorism that
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