FBI puts Al-Qaeda operative in Brazil on ‘Most Wanted’ list
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The FBI is seeking to interrogate an alleged Egyptian al-Qaeda operative living in Brazil accused of planning terrorist attacks against the United States, reports revealed this week.
On their “Most Wanted” list on their website, the FBI said it was “seeking information” on Mohamed Ahmed Elsayed Ahmed Ibrahim, who they warned should be considered “armed and dangerous.”
“Mohamed Ahmed Elsayed Ahmed Ibrahim is wanted for questioning in connection with his alleged role as an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator who has allegedly been involved in plotting attacks against the United States and its interests, and in providing material support to Al Qaeda since approximately 2013,” the FBI said in a statement. “He is located in Brazil.”
Responding to the FBI’s warrant, the Brazilian government that they “stand ready to cooperate with authorities in the United States” to locate and detain Ibrahim for interrogation.
The warrant comes weeks after the Brazilian Justice Ministry issued new regulations making it easier to deport foreigners who are deemed dangerous or a threat to national security.
The request also comes as Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro seeks to strengthen ties with the U.S. and President Donald Trump, who he considers an ideological ally. Bolsonaro has recently proposed bilateral trade pact between the two countries, while Brazil already maintains strong security ties with the U.S., particularly useful during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which authorities feared would be a prime target for Islamist terror attacks.
The threat of Islamic terrorism has risen considerably in Brazil and other parts of Latin America in recent years as various jihadist groups are actively trying to radicalize and recruit people across the region, particularly those with links to violent street gangs in the United States.
Last year, authorities charged 11 individuals with attempting to establish an Islamic State terror cell to recruit jihadis to fight in Syria, as well as carry out terror attacks in Brazil and other parts of the Western world. In 2016, the SITE Intelligence group also confirmed that a jihadist cell known as the “Soldiers of the Caliphate Brazil” had pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State and its members were “prepared for the sacrifice of becoming martyrs.”
In Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime is also reportedly allowing growing numbers of Islamist groups, including Hezbollah and the Islamic State, to operate within the country. Some regional authorities fear such groups may be planning to infiltrate the U.S. through the southern border with Mexico.