Argentina arrests foreigners in suspected ‘terrorist’ plot

Argentina arrests foreigners in suspected ‘terrorist’ plot

BUENOS AIRES (AFP): Argentina’s government said Wednesday that three foreigners, citizens of Syria and Lebanon, had been arrested under suspicion of planning a “terrorist act”, as the country hosts a major Jewish sporting event.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told the media that authorities had been on high alert as Buenos Aires hosts the Pan-American Maccabiah Games, bringing together some 4,000 athletes.

She said the country had received intelligence from the United States and Israel on the potential threat, and that the three suspects had booked a hotel near the Israeli embassy.

“We have neutralized the arrival of a possible terrorist cell in the country,” the security ministry wrote on social media.

The three were arrested on December 30, and one of them was found with Venezuelan and Colombian passports in his name.

Bullrich said the three had been awaiting the arrival of what her ministry earlier described as “an international shipment of a 35-kilo parcel originating in the Republic of Yemen.”

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, which has been targeted by two major attacks in the past.

In 1992, a bomb attack against the Israeli embassy left 29 dead. Two years later an attack on a Jewish center left 85 dead and 300 injured, in the worst attack in the country’s history.

The 1994 attack has never been claimed or solved, but Argentina and Israel suspect Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group carried it out at Iran’s request.

Tehran denies any involvement.

Hundreds of Argentines returned to the country after the bloody October 7 attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel.

The attack claimed the lives of around 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also took around 250 hostages back to Hamas-ruled Gaza, 129 of whom remain in captivity, according to Israel.

In response to the deadliest attack in its history, Israel launched a relentless offensive that has reduced vast swathes of Gaza to rubble and claimed over 22,300 lives, according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.