As Olympics Near, Brazil Arrests 'Absolutely Amateur' ISIS Supporters
Brazil's Justice Ministry said Thursday that it arrested 10 individuals, all Brazilian nationals, suspected of attempting to plot attacks in the name of ISIS.
The group is accused of "promoting the Islamic State" and the "implementation of preparatory actions for carrying out terrorist attacks."
Police carried out searches across 10 states; four of the arrests were made in São Paulo, while single arrests were made in six other states. Two warrants were issued for outstanding suspects.
"However insignificant it may seem, we will have a quick reaction," Minister of Justice and Citizenship Alexandre de Moraes vowed at a press conference.
Moraes said investigators began delving into an online forum that was being used by "supporters of Sharia" to discuss attacks in Brazil and abroad. No specific attack site was mentioned just a couple weeks from the start of the Olympic Games in Rio, which run Aug. 5 through Aug. 21.
The Justice Ministry added that an NGO "operating in the humanitarian and educational field" is also being investigated for potential involvement in the case.
Under Brazilian law, promoting ISIS carries a sentence of five to eight years in prison. Planning terrorist attacks brings between three and 15 years behind bars.
Moraes called the group "absolutely amateur -- with no preparation" beyond discussing terror training, such as taking martial arts classes, and attempting to buy a gun online.
PJM reported earlier this week that ISIS supporters on a Portuguese-language message board had been discussing attacks in the region. Anti-ISIS hackers Binary Sec had reported this forum to the authorities, and the arrests are believed to be connected to these messages and the users behind them.
Portuguese and Brazilian media revealed last month that Ismail Abdul Jabbar al-Brazili, also simply known as "The Brazilian," was attempting to recruit his countrymen for the Islamic State. He was said to be employing several different social media accounts to reel in would-be jihadists, and has said he was recruited by late American jihadist Abu Khalid al-Amriki.