France has informed Brazil that fears voiced last week of an IS-linked plot to attack the French Olympic delegation turned out to be baseless, the Brazilian government said Tuesday. French intelligence chief Christophe Gomart mentioned the alleged plot during a French congressional hearing investigating the Paris attacks of January and November 2015, which left 147 dead. “The French government informed Brazil that reports that a Brazilian supposedly linked to the Islamic State group planned to attack the French delegation during the 2016 Rio Games, were false” said a Brazilian government statement.
Gomart told Brazil’s defense ministry that authorities had “concluded the information is false” after French agencies in cooperation with other intelligence bodies analysed it. For that reason, he said, France did not notify Brazilian authorities at the time. Brazil has said it will bolster security for next month’s Games following last Thursday’s truck attack in Nice that left 84 dead. Brazil’s Olympics security plan calls for the mobilisation, starting July 24, of some 85,000 members of the security forces to ensure the protection of the 10,500 athletes, officials and journalists attending the Games, as well as the half million tourists expected to come from all parts of the world.
Armored vehicles and heavily armed soldiers — some with bazookas and others anti-aircraft guns — are already patrolling Rio’s tourist zones. Though Brazil has no history of terror attacks and is far from jihadist hotbeds like Syria, experts say that hosting the most watched event in the world could put the country at risk.
The Brazilian intelligence agency ABIN said in a separate statement that “all threats related to the Rio 2016 games are being meticulously investigated, particularly connections to terrorism. Many are discarded, and those that merit attention are thoroughly investigated.”
Brazilian marines disembark on Flamengo Beach, near the site that will host the sailing competitions for 2016 Olympic Games, during a drill in Rio de Janeiro. (AFP)