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10 Brazilians Arrested, Accused Of Plotting Terrorist Attack On Rio Olympics

An aerial view shows Christ the Redeemer with Maracana Stadium in the background on July 4 in Rio de Janeiro.
An aerial view shows Christ the Redeemer with Maracana Stadium in the background on July 4 in Rio de Janeiro.

Police in Brazil have arrested 10 people for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack against the upcoming Olympics in Rio, according to Brazil's justice minister.

Authorities say the group, based in multiple states across Brazil, had "moved beyond discussion to active planning," NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro says.

Members of the group allegedly had pledged allegiance to ISIS but had not had any direct contact with the militant group, Lulu reports from Rio.

"It's a first for modern Brazil — Brazilians plotting a terrorist attack on their own country," Lulu says.

In a news conference Thursday, Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said the far-flung members of the group communicated with one another through messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram, and did not know each other personally, Reuters reports.

In addition to the 10 arrested, two more people were being brought in for questioning, Reuters reports.

International intelligence agencies assisted Brazil with the surveillance that led to the arrests, Lulu says.

She reports that the group didn't seem well prepared for the alleged plot:

"The minister said the group was disorganized and amateur. They tried to get access to an illegal weapon via the internet.

"Brazil will have more than double the security that London had during the last Olympics — but there are concerns that the country is not prepared to deal with international terrorism. Brazil's justice minister reiterated his belief that the main threat to the Games is crime and not a terrorist attack."

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