HomeNewsBriefIran-Linked Group Planning Terror Attacks in Brazil, Colombia, Claims Report
BRIEF

Iran-Linked Group Planning Terror Attacks in Brazil, Colombia, Claims Report

BRAZIL / 18 MAY 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

An Italian newspaper reported that a terrorist group linked to Iran may be planning an attack in Colombia, Brazil or Bolivia, but there is little to suggest this report, light on details, is anything more than propaganda.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that the planned attack might be carried out by operatives of the Lebanese group Hezbollah or Iran’s Quds force, a paramilitary wing of its Revolutionary Guard. Journalist Guido Olimpo named Lebanese national Adam Reef, who he called an expert on Latin America, as the coordinator of the operation. Olimpo’s report, datelined Washington, says that “the security services are on alert” over the plans.

According to Olimpo, Reef is part of a network linked to a bomb attack in New Delhi and an attempted bombing in Bangkok earlier this year, both of which apparently targeted Israelis. Israel blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the plots.

A report by InfoBAE news website said “high level sources in the Middle East” had informed regional governments of a terror threat from Hezbollah operatives, placing them on alert.

InSight Crime Analysis

Neither Corriere Della Sera nor InfoBAE provided compelling evidence that Hezbollah or Iranian cells are planning terrorist attacks in South America. They have, however, contributed to the cacophony of voices warning about this topic. InfoBAE, in one of its reports, cites an October 2011 paper (see pdf) by Roger Noriega and Jose Cardenas for the American Enterprise Institute.

The paper warns of a Hezbollah incursion into the region, citing “open sources, subject-matter experts, and sensitive sources within various governments.” It says there are parallel Quds and Hezbollah terror networks comprising some 80 members operating in the region, particularly in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile.

There is also the question of the motive for an Iran/Hezbollah attack in South America, particularly on Bolivia or Brazil. Bolivia was listed by the American Enterprise Institute’s paper as a potential ally for Hezbollah, not a target. Brazil, meanwhile, has never seen a major terror attack inside its borders. In diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, US officials noted Brazil’s hesitance to cooperate in the US-led war on terror. Colombia is a more obvious target, being a close ally of the United States.

An Iran-Hezbollah attack in Latin America would not be unprecedented; the two groups were accused of bombing a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, and may have been behind a 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in that city.

Hezbollah does have some ties in the region, with significant Lebanese immigrant communities in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. The group is thought to have links to criminal organizations in the tri-border area between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, though it likely does not actively direct their operations. Iran’s government, meanwhile, has close ties to Nicaragua and to Venezuela.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

BRAZIL / 9 SEP 2014

Three governors and several other politicians in Brazil have been linked to a multi-billion dollar money laundering scheme allegedly involving…

BRAZIL / 4 MAY 2011

The president of the tiny Caribbean nation Suriname has been charged with murder, convicted of drug trafficking, and accused of…

COLOMBIA / 13 NOV 2012

The Colombian government has sent nearly 500 extra troops to the Pacific province of Choco, where transit and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…