Terrorist organizations in North Africa and the Middle East continue to target beach resorts and boardwalks because they are publicly accessible and have limited security—and these operations can have long-term economic impacts on the tourism industry. Since 2015, there have been four terror attacks at beaches and boardwalks overseas, which resulted in 56 deaths.
In March, six gunmen affiliated with al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb attacked a beach area with small-arms weapons in the resort city of Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, killing 19. In the same month, a Palestinian militant stabbed 10 people on the boardwalk in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing one American.
In June 2015, a lone gunman concealed an assault rifle in an umbrella and fired at tourists on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia, killing 38; the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) later claimed responsibility. Following this attack, the Tunisian tourism industry experienced a loss of an estimated two million hotel reservations, forcing the closure of some 70 hotels.
We have no information on threats to New Jersey’s beaches and boardwalks during the upcoming summer season. However, we encourage you to be aware of your surroundings, and if you see something suspicious, report it to a police officer or to the NJOHSP Counterterrorism Watch at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ (866-472-3365) or 2-1-1. You can also report suspicious activity to firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional resources and information, visit www.njohsp.gov/report-suspicious-activity.
Elsewhere in the United States, the FBI last year charged ISIS sympathizer Harlem Suarez with plotting to attack public beaches in Florida using a backpack bomb on the Fourth of July. The attack was thwarted after the FBI received a tip on Suarez’s social media posts, underscoring the importance of reporting suspicious activity.