Israel’s spy agency Mossad worked with Brazilian security services and other international agencies to foil an attack in Brazil planned by the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Wednesday.
It said the cell was operated by Hezbollah to carry out an attack on Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil, adding: “This was an extensive network that operated in additional countries.”
Brazilian police said Wednesday they have arrested two people for involvement in plotting “terrorist attacks” in the country, which media reports said were backed by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah against Jewish synagogues and other sites.
Federal police said they had detained two suspects in Sao Paulo in an operation to “disrupt the preparation of terrorist attacks and secure evidence on the possible recruitment of Brazilians to carry out extremist acts in the country.”
Police also executed 11 search and seizure raids in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, they said in a statement.
Brazilian news site UOL said the alleged targets for the attacks were synagogues and other buildings linked to Brazil’s Jewish community, which numbers around 107,000 people.
Citing police sources, TV Globo, Brazil’s biggest broadcaster, said investigators believe the suspects have links to Hezbollah and had recently traveled to Beirut.
It said police had asked Interpol to issue a notice for the arrest of two other suspects with Brazilian-Lebanese nationality who are currently in Lebanon.
Interpol did not immediately respond to questions from AFP.
Anti-terror raids are rare in Brazil, which has been spared from major attacks.
The country has the second-biggest Jewish community in Latin America, after neighboring Argentina.
Argentina, home to around 250,000 Jews, was hit by attacks on the Israeli embassy in 1992 and a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 114 people combined.