Brazilian Jihadist group becomes first in South America to pledge allegiance to Isis

Fear of terrorist attacks at the Olympic Games in Brazil has already prompted an increase in airport security

Elsa Vulliamy
Tuesday 19 July 2016 00:57
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Brazilian Army Forces soldiers patrol on Copacabana beach ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 18, 2016
Brazilian Army Forces soldiers patrol on Copacabana beach ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 18, 2016

A Brazilian Jihadist group has pledged allegiance to Isis just weeks before the Olympic Games are due to take place in Rio de Janeiro.

According to extremist monitoring group SITE Intelligence, a channel on the Telegram app called Ansar al-Khilafah #Brazil has posted a message of support for Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Portuguese and Spanish versions of Isis's Nashir Telegram channel have also been released for the first time.

It is believed to be the first pledge of allegiance to the group, also known as Daesh and Islamic State, to come from South America.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN on Sunday that recent terror attacks by Islamist extremists were a result of Isis being “on the run”.

He claimed Isis had lost 40 to 45 per cent of its territory in Iraq and Syria.

Analysts say such attacks are likely to continue, or even get worse, if Isis is driven underground.

“These guys have all the energy and unpredictability of a populist movement,” said Michael Hayden, a retired Air Force general who led the CIA from 2006 to 2009.

Isis has admitted they may be losing ground, but a long-time Isis operative claimed that they “have been able to expand and have shifted some of our command, media and wealth structure to different countries”.

“We do have, every day, people reaching out and telling us they want to come to the caliphate,” said the operative in an interview.

“But we tell them to stay in their countries and rather wait to do something there.”

Some 7.5 million tickets to watch the Olympic Games are due to be sold, with over 500,000 tourists expected to arrive in Brazil.

Security measures at Brazil’s main airports were increased following Thursday’s attacks in Nice, causing chaos as passengers waited in queues so long that dozens ended up missing their flights.

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