Hezbollah faithful demonstrate in support of Hamas in Beirut/AFP
Hezbollah faithful demonstrate in support of Hamas in Beirut. AFP

Brazilian police conducted on Wednesday a series of arrests against people allegedly connected to the preparation of attacks against the Jewish community in the country.

According to local outlet Folha De Sao Paulo, the attacks were being planned by operatives of Hezbollah, a militant organization that operates in Lebanon and is part of the so-called "Axis of Resistance," a term used by Iran to describe militant organizations with anti-Israel stances.

Concretely, the Policía Federal arrested two people and conducted 11 raids in Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo and Distrito Federal. Authorities are set to press a series of charges including "forming or entering a terrorist organization" and "preparing terrorism acts." If given maximum sentences for both charges, the people could face up to 15 and a half years in prison.

It remains unclear if Hezbollah will join the fray
A portrait of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah AFP

Brazil's Israeli Confederation issued a press release following the arrests stating its "huge concern" for the potential attacks: "Terrorism in all of its aspects must be fought against and repudiated by all Brazilian society," the organization said. "The tragic events in the Middle East cannot be imported to our country, in which communities live peacefully and without fear of terrorism," it added.

Hezbollah, whose main base of operations is located in Lebanon, has been routinely attacking Israeli positions across the border since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7 following the latter's attack in which 1,400 people were killed and at least 240 taken hostage. The group said on Tuesday that its death toll has climbed to 63 since the hostilities began.

Analysts have long documented activities related to Hezbollah in the area known as the Triple Border, which separates Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. According to the Buenos Aires Times, the place has "on multiple occasions been a hideout for terrorists who, for instance, once attacked Jewish targets in Buenos Aires."

The outlet added that controls and reports by the countries' main spying agencies with interests in the region have been heightened after the beginning of the war.

On June 15, 2023, Argentine news outlet Infobae reported that three of the four members of Hezbollah allegedly responsible for two terrorist attacks against the Jewish community in Argentina in the 1990s were living in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Lately, the outlet said, operatives from the group, as well as others from Hamas, "have joined drug dealing clans to fund their attack missions in Israel and targets in the rest of the world."

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