Suspects held over alleged Argentina parcel plot

Photo released by Argentina's security ministry
Image caption,Argentina’s security minister released a blurred photo of one of the suspects

By Vanessa Buschschlüter

BBC News

Police in Argentina have arrested three men from Lebanon and Syria suspected of planning a “terrorist act” in the South American country.

They had booked into a hotel near the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and were reportedly waiting for the arrival of a large parcel from Yemen.

The city is currently hosting the Pan-American Maccabiah Games, which brings together thousands of Jewish athletes.

Argentina is home to Latin America’s largest Jewish community.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said the government had received information from the US and Israel about a potential threat to the Maccabiah Games.

“Three people suspected of belonging to terrorist cells are being investigated,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Speaking to reporters, she said the three men were arrested on 30 December.

“There was particular information which worried us, and that was that they had rented [rooms] in a hotel which is no more than two blocks from the Israeli embassy.”

She added that while the men had arrived on different flights “they are linked”. The minister also said the suspects were waiting for a parcel to be delivered from Yemen.

The security ministry described the parcel as “an international shipment” which it said weighed 35kg (77lb). They did not specify what the contents may have been.

The Jewish community of Buenos Aires has been the target of two deadly bomb attacks in the past.

In 1992, 29 people died when a suicide bomber drove a lorry loaded with explosives into the Israeli embassy.

But the most deadly attack happened in 1994, when 85 people were killed in the bombing of the Amia Jewish cultural centre in the capital.

Argentina accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah of being behind both attacks, which the Islamist group denied.

Security experts believe Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, has been active on the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Two months ago, Brazil said it had foiled an attack on its soil following the arrest in São Paulo of two men suspected of being linked to Hezbollah.

The group is considered a terrorist organisation by the UK, the US, Argentina, Israel and Gulf Arab countries among others.

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