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Police arrest last suspect from Brazil Olympics attack group

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Police officers stand guard outside the Amazonia Arena in Brazil.PHOTO/AFP

Police officers stand guard outside the Amazonia Arena in Brazil.PHOTO/AFP

BRASILIA, Brazil, July 25 – Brazilian police Sunday arrested the last remaining member of what authorities have called an “amateur” IS-linked group preparing attacks ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The other 11 members were arrested Thursday through Friday and have been transferred to a maximum security prison near the border with Paraguay, officials said.

The group is alleged to have attempted to form an extremist cell called Defenders of Sharia, of which several members had sworn loyalty to the Islamic State group.

They were allegedly preparing attacks and had attempted to make contact online with an arms dealer in Paraguay to buy an AK-47 assault rifle.

Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes, however, has said the members were “absolutely amateur” and “disorganized.” He also said they had no specific targets.

The final member, who will be sent to federal prison, was located by military police in Comodoro, a city in the western state of Mato Grosso, officials said in a statement.

Members of the group lived in various locations across Brazil and their contact had been limited mostly to exchanging messages on the WhatsApp and Telegram mobile services.

The detainees are accused of giving themselves Arabic names and praising the recent massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida by a man who pledged loyalty to the IS group.

Last week, Brazil said it was bolstering security for the August 5-21 Olympics following the truck attack in the French city of Nice, which killed 84 people and left scores badly wounded. The attack has been claimed by IS.

Brazil’s Olympics security plan calls for the mobilization of some 85,000 members of the security forces.

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