Right ahead of the Olympics in Brazil, another ISIS franchise has sprung up, this one being the first in South America/Thus far, forty-three other Jihadist organizations have pledged allegiance to ISIS, the most prominent being Nigerian terror group Boko Haram. The Zika epidemic has had everyone worried about attending the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but now that may not be the only thing giving tourists and athletes the jitters.
As reported by The Independent: 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 (which translates to “supporters of the caliphate”) #Brazil has posted a message of support for Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
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.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.
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) July 18, 2016
Still, according to the Daily Mail, “Brazil’s anti-terror chief has admitted there is a credible threat.” This comes after ISIS has stated plans of targeting the Olympic games on its channels – but remember they make hundreds of threats of “planned attacks” that are never followed through on.There isn’t much information about Ansar al-Khilafah available online, indicating the group may have relatively minor operations, and few members. Even the ISIS-pledged Philippine terror group Abu Sayaff has a Wikipedia page nearly 6,000 words in length – despite only having 300 estimated members. South America is a continent that’s remained untouched by Islamist violence, with few exceptions. The Brazilian Census lists a Muslim population of only 35,000 – while the nation’s total population is over 205 million.
It thus seems unlikely this group represents much of a threat (so far) – but as we’ve learned recently, it only takes a handful of people and a truck to cause mayhem.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]