Nearly two dozen terror financiers and operatives from al-Qaida, Hizballah and other terrorist organizations are operating in Brazil, despite being known to Western intelligence officials, a Brazilian magazine reports.
Veja, a weekly news magazine, said its report is based on reports it reviewed from Brazilian and U.S. authorities. In addition to raising and moving money, the operatives are believed to be involved in planning attacks. Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics.
One, Khaled Hussein Ali, reportedly has been in Brazil since 1998, and runs an al-Qaida propaganda arm called "Jihad Media Battalion."
Officials long have identified the Tri-Border area between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina as a hub of Islamist terror activity. Despite this, "Brazil has not passed any specific anti-terrorism legislation, does not recognize Hizbollah or Hamas as terrorist groups and disbanded the Federal Police's anti-terrorism service in 2009," reports Robin Yapp of Britain's Telegraph newspaper.
Brazil's new President, Dilma Rousseff, is seeking warmer relations with Washington.