RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s federal police have arrested 10 people for allegedly
planning terrorist attacks during next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,
China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes described the group as “absolute
amateurs”, adding that their detention was a preventative measure.
Officials said the suspects had tried to make contact with Islamic State,
but were not members of the organisation.
The people arrested were all Brazilian citizens and were detained in 10
different states. They had been in contact via mobile messaging services like
WhatsApp and Telegram, police said.
Thursday’s developments came a week after 84 people were killed, including
scores of children, when a truck ploughed through a crowd celebrating Bastille
Day in the southern French city of Nice.
Brazil’s institutional security minister, Sergio Etchegoyen, said after the
Nice attack that security would be raised to “another level” for the Aug 5-21
Brazil’s federal police are understood to be monitoring 100 people for
possible links to terrorist groups. Meanwhile intelligence agencies are stepping
up security and tightening checks in the tri-border region with Argentina and
“Today (Thursday) was the first operation against a supposed terrorist cell
in Brazil,” Moraes said. “Brazil was not part of the coalition against IS, but
because of the upcoming Olympics and because it will receive many foreigners,
Brazil becomes part of the target.”
Agents from more than 100 countries and regions are working in tandem with
Brazil’s federal police and armed forces during the Games period, according to
Brazil is also reportedly planning a special security arrangement at the
opening ceremony for French President Francois Hollande.
South America’s largest country will deploy 88,000 soldiers and police
during the Olympics, more than double the number at the London 2012 Games.