The group of ten people that were discussing attacks during the Olympics was arrested in Brazil on Thursday. It was a poorly organized cell, the members of which doesn’t belong to ISIS but were trying to make contact with it.
Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes described the group as "absolutely amateur". All of the members are Brazilian citizens. They contacted via messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram and did not know each other personally. They were detained across 10 different states.
"Today was the first operation against a supposed terrorist cell in Brazil," Moraes told at a news conference. "Brazil was not part of the coalition against IS but, because of the upcoming Olympics and because it will receive many foreigners, Brazil has become a target."
The individuals detained on Thursday were being monitored because they had accessed websites linked to IS, but the group had "no preparation at all" and was a "disorganized cell". He said that authorities intervened when the group started planning actions including martial-arts training and the purchase of firearms.
Group members had attempted to contact a weapons supplier in neighbouring Paraguay to get AK 47 assault rifles, but there was no evidence of any being bought.
The group did not have direct contact with IS, but some members had made declarations of allegiance to the militant Islamist group via social media, the minister said.
For now Brazilian federal police is monitoring around 100 people for possible links to terrorist groups, mostly in the lawless tri-border region with Paraguay and Argentina.