Special forces guard cruise terror targets: Commandos trained to take out IS suicide boats

A cruise boat and a special forces soldier

THREAT: Experts say cruise liners may be at risk from suicide boats

Intelligence chiefs fear the jihadis plan to ram the luxury ships using vessels packed with explosives.

Last week we exclusively revealed a unit of specially trained troops have been assigned to protect British tourists in southern Europe and North Africa.

Now an SBS unit from Poole in Dorset is under orders to use attack boats and divers to counter Islamic State at sea.


DANGER: Hundreds of cruise ships travelling through the Med are now seen as potential targets

Intelligence chiefs think the terrorists may attempt to seize liners and murder passengers or hold them hostage.

Hundreds of cruise ships travel through the Med every summer and are now viewed as easy targets.

Suicide boats have been used to attack US Navy ships in the past, holing the vessels and causing mass casualties.

British spooks believe IS fighters are planning to use similar tactics against liners crammed with holidaymakers.

Some cruise ships are already hiring military contractors to provide additional security when travelling through dangerous waters.

One source said: “We know IS terrorists are attempting to bring fear and panic to the Med.

“They want to attack cruise liners with suicide boats. It’s a very effective tactic – the boats are very fast and cruise liners make a big target and the vast majority are unprotected.”

There are fears the extremists will launch sea assaults from their base in the Mediterranean port of Sirte in Libya.

But a squadron of Special Boat Service troops based in the country has already put suicide boats out of action.

Frogmen used underwater jet packs to infiltrate the port and destroy dozens of Isis vessels.

Commandos have also assassinated terrorist commanders and helped friendly militias to launch attacks against the fundamentalists.

An SBS frogmen team recently carried out a sniping mission against Isis fighters from the sea.

They were equipped with a specially adapted rifle which allows targets to be engaged from the ocean.

frogmen teamGETTY

COVERT: An SBS frogmen team recently carried out a sniping mission against Isis from the sea

The commandos scuba dived to within a few hundred metres of the coast where Isis thugs were on a beach being taught how to fire a mortar.

Their first shot with the silenced weapon killed a commander.

They dived for a few minutes, then resurfaced and took out another two fighters before submerging again.

The third wave of the SBS attack left several more jihadis dead – and the remaining fighters fled in terror.

With the job done, the team disappeared out to sea, and were picked up by comrades.

The source added: “The SBS will go after the jihadis at sea and in port.

“There will be spy planes up in the air monitoring every vessel which leaves Libya and if it can’t be identified it will be targeted, especially if it’s heading for a cruise ship.”

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Get away from it all? Cruise passengers want MORE…….

Get away from it all? Cruise passengers want MORE intrusion from the outside world with free wifi the innovation they’d most like to see on ships (…it can cost £20 an hour)

  • Poll of 1,000 passengers found demand for internet access was top
  • But logging on can prove costly…and the signal can struggle at sea
  • Experts say younger travellers like to share holidays on social media 

With their on-board entertainment and air of relaxed seclusion, cruise liners seem the ideal place to get away from it all.

But it appears that what holidaymakers really want is more intrusion from the outside world.

Almost nine in ten passengers said free wifi and email access is the innovation they would most like to see on cruise ships, a poll found.

Get connected: nine in ten passengers said free wifi and email access is the innovation they would most like to see on cruise ships

Get connected: nine in ten passengers said free wifi and email access is the innovation they would most like to see on cruise ships

With many now including smartphones and tablets in their luggage, travellers increasingly expect to be able to browse the internet even when far from land. And while many liners try to accommodate their demands with wifi hotspots, logging on can prove costly at up to £20 an hour.

There are also problems with repeated signal interruptions and slow service. ‘This is a particularly prevalent issue for younger families,’ said Sukie Rapal of Cruise.co.uk, which carried out the poll of 1,000 passengers.

‘Teenagers use their devices to stay in touch with friends on social media, access mobile applications and play games – meaning cruisers are susceptible to receiving a very unexpected cost at the end of their trip.’

The demand for better internet access is partly down to the falling average age of passengers, which the survey found has dropped from 60 to 55 years in the last decade.

‘With a 195 per cent rise in the number of searches for cruises on mobile devices this Christmas, it’s apparent that cruisers have become more tech savvy,’ she added.

‘Cruisers need to do their research to find the most reasonable rates for wifi use, because if they fail to do so, it could end up costing them more than the holiday itself.’

Get away from it all? No thanks: Many travellers increasingly expect to be able to browse the internet even when far from land

Get away from it all? No thanks: Many travellers increasingly expect to be able to browse the internet even when far from land

The poll also showed that world class entertainment came high up on cruisers’ wishlists, while around a fifth said their biggest demand was flat screen televisions in their cabins.

The least desired innovation was robot barmen, which have already been installed on a Royal Caribbean ship. Just one per cent said they were interested in seeing these on board.

The most popular ocean destination for this year is the Far East, while Europe’s Danube is the preferred river trip.