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Mossad helped dismantle Hezbollah cell in Brazil, says Israeli government

Israel’s Mossad spy agency worked with Brazilian security services and other international agencies to thwart an attack on Jews in Brazil planned by the Iran-backed radical Islamic group Hezbollah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Wednesday. fair (8).

The Federal Police (PF) said in a statement that it arrested two people, whose names were not disclosed, on terrorism charges in São Paulo. They also carried out search and seizure warrants in the state and in Brasília and Minas Gerais.

The Mossad thanked Brazilian security services for their role in helping to foil the attack.

“The Brazilian security services, together with the Mossad and… additional international security and law enforcement agencies, thwarted a terrorist attack in Brazil, which had been planned by the terrorist organization Hezbollah, directed and financed by the Iranian regime,” the office said. from Netanyahu.

The Mossad said the “terrorist cell… was operated by Hezbollah to carry out an attack against Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil.”

Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed group in Lebanon could not immediately be reached for comment. Neither does the Iranian government.

Terrorism in Brazil

Brazil has a relatively small history of extremism within the country.

In 2017, eight Brazilians linked to the Islamic State were sentenced to prison for planning attacks during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, following a tip from the United States’ FBI.

In 2021, the US Treasury named three men in Brazil as members of an al Qaeda-affiliated network. U.S. authorities also keep a close eye on the Triple Border region between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, which is home to a large Lebanese diaspora community and a base for smuggling organizations and other organized crime groups.

Anti-Semitism grows

The Federal Police operation comes amid growing global security concerns following the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 and the subsequent bombing of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military.

Brazilian Jewish leaders told Reuters last month that they had noticed an increase in anti-Semitic speech online since the start of the conflict.

“We are following this Federal Police operation today with apprehension and concern. Brazil has no history of terrorism and we hope that the conflict in the Middle East will not be imported here”, said Ricardo Berkiensztat, executive president of the Jewish Federation of the State of São Paulo (Fisesp).

Hezbollah

Hezbollah was created by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982 to fight Israeli forces that invaded Lebanon. The heavily armed group has seats in parliament and government and acts as Iran’s spearhead in Lebanon and the region.

Since the Oct. 7 attack, Hezbollah has engaged with Israeli forces along the border in the deadliest escalation since it fought a war with Israel in 2006.

Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist organization by Argentina, Britain, Canada, Germany, Honduras and the United States, as well as most U.S.-allied Gulf states.

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) said in 2019 that he planned to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization as well, but the move never took place.

Video – Netanyahu’s office echoes the arrest of Brazilians on suspicion of terrorism

Source: CNN Brasil

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