Brazilian police arrested 10 people suspected of belonging to a group supporting Islamic State (IS) and planning terrorist acts during next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes described the suspects, who were all Brazilian citizens, as poorly organized, Reuters reported.
The “absolutely amateur” suspects were in contact via messaging apps and appeared not to know each other personally, the minister was quoted as saying.
Although Brazil has no history of conflict with known militant groups, the Olympics had made his nation a potential target, particularly because of participation by countries fighting IS, Moraes said.
Some 500,000 visitors are expected to travel to Brazil for the Games, many of them from the US.
“Today was the first operation against a supposed terrorist cell in Brazil,” Moraes told a news conference.
“Brazil was not part of the coalition against IS but, because of the upcoming Olympics and because it will receive many foreigners, Brazil has become a target.”
The individuals detained on Thursday were being monitored because they had accessed websites linked to IS, but the group had no preparation at all, the minister said.
Authorities intervened when the group started planning actions including martial-arts training and the purchase of firearms, he said.
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