Argentina arrests three Syrian and Lebanese men in connection with potential terror attack

One man was carrying Colombian and Venezuelan passports in his name while another carried a Syrian flag

One of the men detained by Argentinian Federal Police on suspicion of being part of a terrorist cell. AFP
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Argentina's Security Ministry on Wednesday said it had neutralised a terror cell with the arrest of three men of Syrian and Lebanese origin.

The ministry said the men had been detained on suspicion of being connected to a terrorist plot that was to be carried out on Argentinian soil.

One of the men was carrying Venezuelan and Colombian passports in his name, the ministry reported. Another had a Syrian flag in his possession.

Intelligence had indicated the possible entry into the country of three Syrian or Lebanese citizens aiming to gather in Buenos Aires to set off the attack.

Security agencies had also learnt that a large package had been shipped to Argentina from Yemen. Two of the men were detained in connection with the package.

According to La Nacion, police were investigating the contents of the package and going through the men's phone records.

The men's arrival coincided with the Pan American Maccabi Games, this year hosted by Buenos Aires.

The international sporting event, similar to the Olympics, is open to Jewish athletes from across the Americas and is part of the larger international Maccabiah Games.

This year, about 4,200 Jewish athletes from 22 countries are competing in the regional games.

Argentina is no stranger to terror attacks. In 1994, a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden vehicle into a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, killing 85.

No one was ever convicted in connection with the attack, but allegations have been primarily levelled against a group connected with Hezbollah.

Last month, the US issued sanctions on a Lebanese man accused of being part of Hezbollah's Islamic Jihad Organisation and being involved in the planning of the 1994 Buenos Aires attack.

Updated: January 03, 2024, 4:40 PM