West Jerusalem has claimed that a terrorist cell was plotting an attack on Israeli and Jewish targets in South America
The Israeli government has claimed that Mossad helped Brazilian security services and other agencies foil a planned terrorist attack on Jewish targets in the South American country, leading to the bust of a local cell linked to Hezbollah.
“Mossad thanks the security forces in Brazil for the arrest of a terrorist cell that acted on behalf of the terrorist organization Hezbollah to carry out an attack against Israeli and Jewish targets in the country,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Brazilian authorities arrested two unidentified people on terrorism charges in Sao Paulo, according to a statement by Brazil’s Federal Police, which made no mention of Hezbollah, Mossad or Israel. They also executed 11 search and seizure warrants in Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Minas Gerais states. Police said the crackdown aimed to prevent a terrorist attack and investigate the possible recruitment of Brazilians to carry out such plots in the country.
Suspects charged under Brazil’s terrorism law are held without bail pending trial and are ineligible for pardons, amnesty or leniency, police said. Individuals convicted of planning terrorist attacks can be sentenced to up to 15 and a half years in prison.
The Israeli government blamed Iran for directing and financing the planned attacks and claimed the Brazilian cell was part of a wide network of Hezbollah-linked operatives across the world.
“These days, against the background of the war in Gaza against the terrorist organization Hamas, the terrorist organization Hezbollah and the Iranian regime continue to operate around the world to carry out attacks against Israeli, Jewish and Western targets,” Netanyahu’s office said.
Brazil has little history of terrorist plots. Brazilian police arrested 10 supporters of the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) for allegedly planning terrorist attacks during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Mossad was among the foreign intelligence agencies that cooperated with Brazilian authorities on that case. About 92,000 Jews live in Brazil, making it the world’s tenth-largest Jewish community, according to the World Jewish Congress.
US FBI chief Christopher Wray warned lawmakers late last month that the surprise Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7 created a heightened risk of terrorist plots worldwide, including on American soil. “We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration, the likes of which we haven’t seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate years ago,” Wray said.