Brazil’s national intelligence agency issued a warning of the risk of terrorist attacks by Islamist groups at this summer’s Olympic Games, due to be held in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilian Counterterrorism Director Luiz Alberto Sallaberry said the risk has increased due to attacks on other countries. He also said there has been a rise in the number of Brazilians sympathizing with groups like the Islamic State.
“Brazil, you are our next target” was tweeted last year by an ISIS executioner, Maxime Hauchard, who features in the group’s propaganda videos. That tweet was confirmed as genuine.
Sallaberry told the media security measures was increased and that Brazil was working with other countries to protect the Olympics.
An estimated 500,000 people are expected to travel to Brazil for the Olympics.
Any threats made by ISIS are hard to gauge. The group uses threats to spread confusion about its intentions and to strike fear into the hearts of its enemies. However, it does not have the resources to carry out as many mass-casualty attacks as it would like.
Threatening various countries is a good way to leverage the terrorism it can carry out to create maximum fear. This relies on the fact that ISIS carries out enough attacks on countries around the world that any given threat has to be treated as credible.
It is by no means certain ISIS will attack Brazil. But the fact is it will likely force security services to spend extra time and resources to protect against a possible attack and projects the image of ISIS as it wants to be seen – an international menace that could strike at any moment.