Brazil police arrest 10 suspected of planning Olympics terrorist acts

Posted at 11:52 AM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 11:52:32-04

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested 10 people suspected of planning terrorist acts during the Olympics, authorities said Thursday.

The group was inspired by the Islamic State and only had contact with the terrorist group via the Internet and social media, Brazil Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said.

While no specific targets were mentioned, the Justice Ministry is still investigating the suspects’ computers and cell phones to find out more about their plans, officials said.

De Moraes said the suspects are all Brazilian nationals, and that one minor was mentioned in the conversations. The arrests were made in the southern states of Sao Paulo and Parana and authorities are still looking for two more suspects.

De Moraes said the suspects were “not an organized cell.”

Brazil’s intelligence agency said this week it was reviewing all threats against the Rio 2016 Games after a jihadi messaging channel called for its followers to target the Olympics.

“Many (threats) are discarded and the ones that deserve attention are investigated exhaustively,” the agency said.

Earlier this week, a jihadi channel on the messaging app Telegram called for attacks against the Games and detailed targets and methods, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

SITE said a message was posted to “Inspire the Believers!”

“Lone wolf from anywhere in the world can move to Brazil now,” the message said.

Last week, Brazil’s interim government’s top military aide said the concerns with terrorism had “reached a higher level” after the attacks of six days ago in Nice, France.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.