1 of 3 | Hezbollah militants long have battled Israeli forces in Lebanon (such as in 2021, pictured). On Wednesday, Israel's intelligence agency Mossad confirmed it helped Brazilian federal police thwart a Hezbollah attack against Jewish and Israeli targets in that South American nation. File Photo by Jamal Eddine/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Israel's intelligence agency Mossad confirmed Wednesday it helped Brazilian federal police thwart a Hezbollah attack against Jewish and Israeli targets in Brazil that included synagogues.
A Mossad statement from Israel's Prime Minister's Office said, "The Brazilian security services, together with the Mossad and its partners in the Israeli security community, alongside additional international security and enforcement agencies, have foiled a terrorist attack in Brazil, which had been planned by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, directed and financed by the Iranian regime. This was an extensive network that operated in additional countries."
That statement thanked the Brazilian security services for "the arrest of a terrorist cell that was operated by Hezbollah in order to carry out an attack on Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil."
A Brazilian federal police statement said, "Federal police officers served two temporary arrest warrants and 11 search and seizure warrants, issued by the Judicial Subsection of Belo Horizonte, in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and the Federal District."
The police said these actions were taken "with the aim of interrupting preparatory acts of terrorism and obtaining evidence of possible recruitment of Brazilians to carry out extremist acts in the country."
"The recruiters and those they recruit will face charges of creating or belonging to a terrorist organization and carrying out preparations for acts of terrorism, carrying a potential maximum sentence ... of 15 and a half years in prison," police said in a statement.
Two of the arrested men are suspected of links to the Lebanese Hezbollah group and were allegedly involved in planning an attack in Brazil.
One of those men was arrested at Brazil's international airport in Guarulhos, São Paulo, after flying in from Lebanon.
According to CNN Brazil, federal police there believe the man was there to pass on information to an alleged partner in the planned attacks focusing on Jewish communty buildings.
The plan included attacking synagogues in Brazil, according to Rio's O Globo newspaper.
Israel's Prime Minister's office statement added, "Given the backdrop of the war in Gaza against the Hamas terrorist organization, Hezbollah and the Iranian regime are continuing to operate around the world in order to attack Israeli, Jewish and Western targets."