The threat to the Rio Olympics 2016 was increased after a local Islamist group pledged allegiance to ISIS. A Brazilian group, called “Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil” confirmed it now follows the preaching of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and they will promote IS propaganda in multiple languages.
Less than three weeks before the Rio Olympics is scheduled to begin, Brazil’s intelligence agency confirmed a presumed Brazilian Islamist group pledged allegiance to the radical Islamic State. The SITE Intelligence Group that monitors the internet for ISIS activities reported on a local Brazilian group that calls itself Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil, which means Soldiers of the Caliphate Brazil, has pledged allegiance to the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The group further proclaimed that it has begun to actively promote ISIS propaganda in Arabic, English, and Portuguese. Incidentally, the local group is the first organization in Latin America to pledge its allegiance to the terror group. The allegiance states that members of the Brazilian group are “prepared for the sacrifice of becoming martyrs” and warns that Brazilian police training alongside French officers will do little to protect the South American nation as France has become one of the most frequent targets of Islamic State attacks in the West.
The entire conversation appears to be taking place on Telegram, a rival to the popular internet-based smartphone messaging service, WhatsApp. Just like its rival, Telegram offers end-to-end encryption, and that makes eavesdropping more difficult. If that’s not all, Telegram also hosts private channels.
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Incidentally, the Brazilian government had recently banned WhatsApp ahead of the Rio Olympics 2016 to supposedly protect user privacy. However, ISIS has been known to prefer Telegram. The group had recently stepped up its sale of sex slaves, weapons and other illegal merchandise through the messaging platform. The combined benefits offered by Telegram has made the app a haven for terrorist groups looking to recruit, coordinate and simply brag to each other, reported The Washington Post.
According to Reuters, a man identified by the pseudonym “Ismail Abdul Jabbar al-Brazili” has been identified as the moderator of at least one Portuguese-language Islamic State Telegram channel. He appears to be actively translating propaganda from the official ISIS media outlets stationed in Raqqa, Syria, into Portuguese and Spanish. The translated messages are then forwarded to other ISIS-affiliated channels in Brazil.
While Brazil authorities haven’t confirmed the true identities of Brazilian nationals who are supporting ISIS, they did make a single arrest last week. Authorities intercepted a person who was about to join Islamic State. The man was apprehended while he was on his voyage in Bulgaria, reported Brietbart.
Brazil has already deployed close to 100,000 security personnel for Rio Olympics 2016. The professionals have been handpicked from the police, military, and members of a Brazil-style national guard called the National Force. However, after the Nice assault, the country’s defense ministry confirmed they would bolster the security even further, reported the Daily Mail. The country claims to have a detailed list of people suspected of some association with terrorism. Compiled with help from the United States and France, the list has more than 500,000 suspects, shared the nation’s defense minister, Raul Jungmann,
“Anyone wanting to watch the Olympic Games will have to go through a barrier where they identify themselves and their details are checked. This person will then pass through a second barrier where everything they are bringing with them will be scanned.”
Brazilian security forces have been conducting intense mock-drills simulating multiple types of terror attacks. The drills are being conducted on live locations like the stadium as well as major public transportation nodes.
With hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists expected to pour into Rio de Janeiro from around the world, Brazil does have a huge security undertaking for the Rio Olympics 2016.
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