In a major counter-terrorism operation on Wednesday, the Brazilian Federal Police along with the Mossad moved swiftly to prevent imminent terrorist attacks within the country, against the Jewish community. The Brazilian Report disclosed on Wednesday that the operation was aimed at dismantling groups that were allegedly “preparing to commit terrorist acts” and “recruiting Brazilians for extreme acts” targeting Jewish community buildings in Brazil.
According to the report, authorities executed two temporary arrest warrants and conducted searches at 11 locations across Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and the federal capital, Brasília. The Federal Police have stated that individuals involved in recruiting or joining terrorist organizations could face severe legal penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.
Investigations have identified the suspects’ connections to Hezbollah, a group engaged in conflict with Israel and supportive of Palestinian statehood claims. Notably, a 2014 inquiry by the Federal Police found ties between Hezbollah and Brazil’s First Command of the Capital (PCC) cartel, including alleged weapon trades and the safeguarding of Lebanese prisoners in Brazil.
O Globo reported that one of the prisoners was detained at Guarulhos airport, in São Paulo, upon arriving from Lebanon. “The authorities believe that he has already arrived with information to carry out the attacks,” the report said.
This operation comes against the backdrop of Brazil’s strict anti-terrorism legislation enacted prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, which takes a firm stance against acts motivated by xenophobia or racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination.
Op comes amid spike in antisemitic incidents in Brazil
An alarming increase in antisemitic incidents in Brazil has been reported, escalating tensions and vigilance among Jewish communities. The Brazilian Report highlighted a staggering 760 percent rise in school-related antisemitic incidents over the last three years, intensifying the concerns of potential threats and emphasizing the need for such preemptive actions by law enforcement agencies.
According to the World Jewish Congress, there are about 92,000 Jews in Brazil, making it the 10th-largest Jewish community in the world and second largest in Latin America, behind Argentina.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), reacted to this report on behalf of Mossad on Wednesday evening.
“Security forces in Brazil, in collaboration with Mossad and its partners within the Israeli security community, as well as other international security and law enforcement agencies, have successfully foiled a planned attack by the Hezbollah terror group – orchestrated and financed by the Iranian regime. This disruption targets a vast network that extends to several other nations globally.
“Mossad expresses gratitude to the Brazilian security forces for their role in detaining a terrorist cell operating under Hezbollah’s directives, which intended to execute an attack against Israeli and Jewish targets within Brazil,” the PMO said.
“Amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza with the Hamas terrorist group, Hezbollah and the Iranian regime persist in their global efforts to orchestrate attacks against Israeli, Jewish, and Western targets.
“Mossad is actively and will continue to employ a diverse array of tactics to prevent these attempts, operating wherever necessary,” the PMO concluded.