Argentina arrests 3 for alleged terror cell connections

Authorities in Argentina have arrested three men, including a Syrian national, in Buenos Aires and surrounding areas on suspicion of being part of a terror cell, the government announced Wednesday.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich did not disclose the identity of the men — who were detained over the weekend — but released images of the suspects with their faces blurred.

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In a statement issued hours before, the ministry said that one of those arrested was a Syrian national who carried passports from Venezuela and Colombia bearing his name. The nationalities of the other two men were not disclosed, but Bullrich said the men previously had used documents of various nationalities.

“We do not know if their names are the real ones,” Bullrich told reporters.

Patricia Bullrich

Now-Security Minister of Argentina Patricia Bullrich delivers a speech during a closing rally of her campaign for the August 13 primary elections, in Buenos Aires on August 7, 2023. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)

Bullrich said that authorities had been on high alert as Buenos Aires hosts the Pan-American Maccabi Games, bringing together thousands of Jewish athletes from different countries, and as the Israel-Hamas war rages on in the Gaza Strip.

Bullrich said that the three men arrived in Argentina on different flights and that they had booked a hotel “two blocks from the Israeli Embassy.” She added that the suspects were waiting for “a package that came from Yemen,” raising suspicions from authorities.

Argentina was the scene of one of the largest attacks against the Jewish community in Latin America. In 1992 a bomb exploded at the Israeli Embassy killing 29 people.

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Two years later a car bomb destroyed a cultural Jewish center, killing 85 in the nation’s capital. Prosecutors have said Iranian agents were behind the attacks, a claim Iran has denied.

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