RIO DE JANIERO (CelebrityAccess) — Brazil has arrested 10 people on Thursday on suspicion of being supporters of the Islamic State (IS) and discussing committing acts of terrorism during the Olympics next month in Rio.
According to Reuters, the group has been described as 'amateur' by Brazilian Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes and identified as Brazilian citizens communicating via mobile messaging apps.
"Today was the first operation against a supposed terrorist cell in Brazil," Moraes said during a press conference on Thursday. "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."
Moraes added that the individuals were detained after accessing websites connected to the Islamic State. While the group did not have direct contact with IS, some members had made "pro forma" declarations of allegiance via social media, Moraes said.
"Those involved participated in an online group denominated 'the defenders of Sharia' and were planning to acquire weapons to commit crimes in Brazil and even overseas," Moraes said during the news conference.
According to Reuters, Brazil has been actively preparing for a safe Olympic Games and will employ as many as 85,000 soldiers in a security role, approximately twice as many as were used in London in 2012. As well, they are coordinating with foreign intelligence services for security assistance.
The Olympic Games have been previously targeted by terrorists, including the infamous attacks on Israeli competitors that left 11 athletes dead during the Summer Games in Munich in 1972, and the bombing during the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. – Staff Writers