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Brazil boosts security, drills for Olympics
July 17, 2016, 5:52 pm

Members of the armed forces engage in a counter-terrorism drill in Rio as Brazil beefs up its security measures ahead of the Olympic Games [Xinhua]

Members of the armed forces engage in a counter-terrorism drill in Rio as Brazil beefs up its security measures ahead of the Olympic Games [Xinhua]

Thousands of police, security forces, members of the army and special units this weekend took part in Brazil’s biggest counter-terrorism drills ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The exercise came as the interim government discussed ways to boost security for the world’s biggest sporting even which kicks off on August 5 and runs for 16 days.

Brazilian officials say they are taking no chances especially since intelligence units reportedly intercepted messages in Portugues on websites associated with groups like the Islamic State.

There is also a heightened sense of alert since the attack in Nice, France last week which killed 84 people and wounded at least 200.

The interim cabinet held an emergency meeting over the weekend and warned that new security measures in the wake of the Nice attack could make people feel uncomfortable.

But the primary concern is to look after security and safety for the anticipated 500,000 global visitors coming to the Olympics, the athletes, and the citizens of Rio, officials said.

Olympic Games – at Atlanta 1996 and Munich 1972 – have shown that major sporting tournaments are susceptible to the threat of terror attacks.

The fact that a truck was used to kill so many people has alarmed security officials around the world.

“We are going to have to intensify our control and security systems,” Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told the press.

He said that Brazilian security forces would carefully inspect and scrutinize “any tool, any instrument, any vehicle can serve as a medium for a terrorist act.”

Security cordons and zones will be expanded while more checkpoints and traffic restrictions will be increased, officials added.

Brazilian authorities also announced this weekend that they will take the unprecedented step of doubling the number of police and security officers around the Rio Olympics to 85,000 and work with experts and safety analysts from more than 100 countries.

The large security contingent will began deploying next week just as athletes and sporting delegations begin to arrive from around the world.

The greatest worry is the “lone wolf” threat. Following the Charlie Hebdo murders in 2015, Brazilian security officials said they would adopt every scenario – including lone wolf – into their planning.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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