Brazilian Justice Minister Flavio Dino has urged the international community to refrain from making assumptions about the ongoing investigation into a terrorist plot after Israel claimed to have foiled a terrorist attack by an Iran-funded Hezbollah cell in the South American country.
Dino’s statement came amid the controversy surrounding Israel’s assertion that a Hezbollah cell had planned to assassinate Jews in Brazil and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israeli intelligence had helped foil the plot, which he alleged was being financed and directed by Iran and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization.
The Brazilian justice minister took to social media to assert Brazil’s authority over the ongoing investigation, calling the allegations a “hypothesis” and denouncing any foreign authority that would consider directing Brazilian police bodies or use investigations for political purposes. Dino’s remarks were seen as a response to Netanyahu’s accusations and an effort to highlight that the probe had started prior to the ongoing Gaza conflict.
The Brazilian Federal Police issued a statement reiterating its control over the investigation and pledging to follow the facts rather than be influenced by external expectations. The police conducted a series of raids and arrested several suspects in connection with the case, codenamed Operation Trapiche, which reportedly involved the recruitment of individuals to carry out extremist acts in the country.
According to court officials cited by Agencia Brasil, the tip about the suspects’ activities had come from the FBI, which mentioned their possible links to the Hezbollah militant movement. Brazil has generally maintained a relatively restrained stance on Israel’s recent military operation against Hamas in Gaza, in marked contrast to several other Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Colombia, and Chile, which have either cut diplomatic ties with Israel or recalled their ambassadors. However, the ruling Worker’s Party has publicly criticized Israel for not allowing some Brazilian nationals to leave the blockaded Palestinian enclave.
Israel’s remarks and actions have added tension to the already complex situation, with the Israeli ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Zonshine, making controversial statements about Hezbollah’s aims to target Jews and insinuating that there were individuals in Brazil who aided the terrorist group. In response, the Brazilian Federal Police chief Andrei Rodrigues characterized Zonshine’s remarks as “disrespectful.”
The investigation into the supposed Hezbollah plot in Brazil remains ongoing, with authorities in the country reiterating their commitment to pursuing the case based on facts and evidence, rather than being swayed by external pressures or geopolitical interests, as implied by the Israeli claims. The situation underscores the need for careful and objective handling of sensitive counterterrorism efforts and international cooperation, ensuring that legal processes, transparency, and respect for national sovereignty are upheld.