A terror network connected to ISIS was planning a major attack at the Rio Olympics. Check out the massive destruction that was just avoided.
President Michel Temer has called an emergency cabinet meeting and Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said the operation spanned nine states across Brazil, although the arrests were made in the southern states of Sao Paulo and Parana.
A court in Parana said there were indications the group was planning to use weapons to launch attacks similar to the Paris atrocities in November last year.
Mr de Moraes said all 12 suspects were Brazilian and one was a juvenile.
He said the group were ‘complete amateurs, and ill-prepared’ to actually launch an attack but he said even seemingly disorganised groups had to be taken seriously.
Asked why he thought they were amateurish, he replied: ‘A few days ago they said they should start practicing martial arts, for example.’
Earlier this month Mr Moraes said a jihadist attack in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics was a ‘possibility’ but ‘not a probability’.
Brazil’s intelligence agency said earlier this week it was investigating all threats to the Rio Olympics, which start on August 5.
There have been reports that jihadi groups linked to rival terror network al-Qaeda were urging their followers to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks at the Olympics in Rio targeting American, British and French athletes.
In an ominous echo of the murderous attacks at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, threats have also been made to Israeli athletes.
Security at this year’s Olympiad was already set to be tight.
Last week it was reported that a Brazilian group had become the first organisation in South America to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
Now it has emerged that al-Qaeda fanatics were issuing a number of directives on social media urging attacks against athletes.
In material obtained by The Foreign Desk, the jihadis are told: ‘One small knife attack against Americans/Israelis in these places will have bigger media effect than any other attacks anywhere else in sha Allah.