In an alarming news conference Thursday, a Brazil official revealed that authorities have just arrested ten ISIS-supporters who were plotting to carry out acts of terror during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next month.
Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes told reporters Thursday that officials had arrested a group of ten men suspected of belonging to a loosely organized ISIS terror cell and preparing attacks for the Olympics and elsewhere. Two other suspects were brought in for questioning related to the cell.
"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 told reporters Thursday.
The minister stressed that the group was an "absolutely amateur cell, with no preparation at all, a disorganized cell," but as recent attacks have revealed, even just one jihadist with minimal preparation can inflict grave damage.
Moraes explained that authorities arrested the men after they began to make more concrete plans via internet messaging platforms, including Telegram and WhatsApp, for carrying out attacks. He said they did not appear to have had direct contact with ISIS, but some of them had made declarations of allegiance to the group.
The minister said the leader of the group was based in Curitiba, the rest of the members coming from other regions in the country. Some of the cell members had visited Paraguay in an attempt to purchase AK-47s, but there was no evidence they had succeeded.
"A court in the state of Parana, where Curitiba is based, said there were indications that the group was planning to use weapons and guerilla tactics to achieve its aim," reports Reuters.
Despite the minister's attempt to publicly downplay the threat the men posed, following the arrest Interim President Michel Temer called an emergency cabinet meeting to address the troubling development.