As Olympics approach, Brazilian jihadist group pledges allegiance to ISIL

by WorldTribune Staff, July 19, 2016

Amid an already tense security situation, and with the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro set to start in 17 days, Brazilian authorities faced a new terror threat after a jihadist group in the country pledged allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

The extremist monitoring group SITE Intelligence reported that Ansar al-Khilafah #Brazil posted a message on a channel on the Telegram app in support of ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Brazilian Army Forces soldiers patrol on Copacabana beach ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on July 18. /Reuters
Brazilian soldiers patrol Copacabana beach ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on July 18. /Reuters

It is believed to be the first pledge of allegiance to the terror group to come from South America.

More than 500,000 tourists are expected in Brazil for the Olympic Games with some 7.5 million tickets due to be sold.

A long-time ISIL operative recently claimed the terror organization has “been able to expand and have shifted some of our command, media and wealth structure to different countries. We do have, every day, people reaching out and telling us they want to come to the caliphate.”

“But we tell them to stay in their countries and rather wait to do something there.”

Security measures at Brazil’s main airports were increased following the terror attack in Nice, France. Reports said the measures caused chaos as passengers waited in queues so long that dozens ended up missing their flights.

Analysts say attacks such as the one in Nice are likely to continue, or get worse, as ISIL is driven underground.

“These guys have all the energy and unpredictability of a populist movement,” said Michael Hayden, a retired Air Force general who led the CIA from 2006 to 2009.