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Brazil prosecutors file terror charges against 8 accused of plotting attacks before Olympics

Authorities said the amateur terrorist cell had sworn loyalty to Islamic State. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Sep 17, 2016, 02.35 AM (IST)
Terrorism charges were filed by Brazilian prosecutors on Friday against eight people, accused of plotting attacks and recruiting followers for terrorist organisations ahead of the Rio Olympics held last month. 

The eight Brazillian nationals were arrested in July for organising what the authorities described as an "amateur" terrorist cell that had sworn loyalty to the Islamic State, international news agency AFP reported today. 

The prosecutors reportedly asked a court to charge all eight accused, including two minors, with "recruitment and promotion of a terrorist organisation."

The police intercepted messages sent using the cell phone application Telegram in which the suspects discussed "the idea that they had to step out of the virtual realm and start acting for real," prosecutor Rafael Brum told a news conference. The investigation was dubbed as Operation Hashtag. 

While there was no direct evidence of concrete plot or an actual link with the Islamic State group, the discussions included the possibility of staging an attack on the Games and tips on home-made bomb-making. But there was no evidence of a he added.

The Brazilian authorities received an initial tip-off about the group from the FBI in the United States, prosecutors said. 

Meanwhile, six other suspects remain under investigation.

The Olympics, which were held from August 5 to 21, went off without major incident despite security fears. Some 85,000 police and soldiers were deployed for the event.

(WION with inputs from AFP) 



 
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