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Brazil raids target group over plot against President-elect Bolsonaro

By Renzo Pipoli
Brazil raids target group over plot against President-elect Bolsonaro
Brazilian police carried out search and arrest warrants against seven people presumed to belong to an organization that could be planning an attack against Brazil President-elect Jair Bolsonaro. Photo by Antonio Lacerda/EPA-EFE

Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Brazilian federal police on Monday carried out search and arrest warrants against seven members of a self-described terrorist group plotting an attack against President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

The target of the raids is a group that calls itself "Ancestral Damnation," which authorities believe placed explosives outside a church in Brasilia last week, R7 radio reported.

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During the investigation of the explosives, described as having some degree of sophistication, police said the group appeared to have exchanged messages about an attack against Bolsonaro.

After learning of the plot, police executed seven arrest warrants. The operation and investigations are going on under judicial secrecy, R7 added. Police carried out different operations Monday in the federal district, as well as the states of Goias and Sao Paulo, La Folha de Sao Paulo reported. The arrests were ordered on charges of criminal association.

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Bolsonaro was targeted in a knife attack in September, one month ahead of the first round of the presidential vote that led to his election. As a result, he was hospitalized for weeks and wears a colostomy bag that will eventually be removed surgically.

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Before the group became the target of investigations, police originally believed a teenager was behind the explosives found at the church Dec. 25. Authorities said the teen claimed the act in social media to attract attention.

Brazilian security forces have prepared to secure Bolsonaro's swearing-in ceremony Tuesday -- which will involve some 12,000 security agents, including 2,600 military police.

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Brasilia will receive some 500,000 visitors for the inauguration, including 60 foreign delegations with presidents and high-ranking authorities from other countries. Authorities are taking extensive security measures, including anti-aircraft missiles, partly due to the assassination attempt in September.

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