Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Brazil arrests 10 in alleged Olympics terror plot

Published:Friday | July 22, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Brazil’s Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes speaks on the arrest of 10 people who allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on social media and discussed possible attacks during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, at the Ministry of Justice, in Brasilia, Brazil, yesterday.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP):

Brazilian police arrested 10 people who allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on social media and discussed possible attacks during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, officials said yesterday.

Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said in the capital, Brasilia, that 10 suspects had been detained and two more were being sought. All are Brazilian, and one is a minor. The gender of the people was not given.

Police acted because the group discussed using weapons and guerrilla tactics to potentially launch an attack during the Olympics, which begin August 5, Moraes said.

However, "they were complete amateurs and ill-prepared" to actually launch an attack, Moraes said. "A few days ago they said they should start practising martial arts, for example."

Still, Moraes said even disorganised groups should be taken seriously.

The arrests were made in 10 different states, including Sao Paulo and Parana in the southern part of the country, and it was not clear whether the suspects knew each other beyond their online contacts. Moraes said there were no specific targets for an attack.

ISLAMIC SYMPATHISERS

Moraes said they had all been "baptised" as Islamic State sympathisers online, and none had actually travelled to Syria or Iraq, the group's stronghold, or received any training. Several were allegedly trying to secure financing from the group, known by the acronym ISIS.

The justice minister said one of the suspects communicated with a store in Paraguay via email in an alleged attempt to buy an AK-47 assault rifle, apparently the most concrete action taken towards a possible attack. That email communication was intercepted by police.