Brazilian police investigating suspected ISIS cell ahead of Olympics

Brazilian federal police ordered the detention of 12 people suspected of pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Publish date:

Your teams on the go or at home. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.

Brazil's police department is investigating a suspected ISIS cell and seeking the arrest of 12 suspects, according to Will Connors of the Wall Street Journal and multiple reports.

Brazilian justice minister Alexandre de Morares addressed the media and said 10 had been arrested and two more were being sought.

The group was reportedly recruited and “baptized” by the Islamic State through the internet and attempted to purchase machine guns in Paraguay, according to Connors.

• Rio’s Olympians manage barriers

The suspects have not had any contact with ISIS in the Middle East and did not travel outside of Brazil, as their contact with the terrorist group only took place online. De Morares said the “amateur” suspects also never met each other in person.

The suspects were spread around nine different Brazilian states including Rio de Janeiro, where the opening ceremonies and most of the Olympics will be held, but were reportedly not specifically targeting Olympic sites. Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasilia and Manaus will also hold events during the Summer Games.

All the suspects are Brazilian and appear to be first arrest of suspected ISIS sympathizers in Brazil, according to Connors.

The 2016 Olympics are set to begin on Aug. 5.