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article imageBrazil stages anti-terror drill in Rio station ahead of Games

By AFP     Jul 16, 2016 in World

Brazilian security forces conducted a simulated counterterrorism operation Saturday at a Rio de Janeiro train station ahead of the Summer Olympics, a day after security was beefed up following the truck attack in Nice.

Two people posing as violent extremists in a train parked at a platform set off an explosion and then fired a series of blank rounds. A dozen soldiers quickly arrived to begin containing the "attack."

Special forces members then arrived in two helicopters. Briefed about the situation by the soldiers, they lobbed a grenade into the train then stormed it, neutralizing the "terrorists."

Planned before the attack in southern France, the exercise took place in the Deodoro train station in northern Rio. Deodoro is one of four main Olympic venues, along with Maracana, Copacabana and Barra da Tijuca, the headquarters of the Rio Games.

"The exercise was very useful, because it allowed us to work within real parameters for the operation and utilization of the troops," said General Mauro Sinott, who heads the military's counterterrorism unit.

"It is one more exercise, conducted on a regional level, just as we have done around football matches in order to involve all our agencies in this effort."

- Yellow alert -

Brazilian army special forces assigned to the security of the Rio 2016 Olympics Games train in empty...
Brazilian army special forces assigned to the security of the Rio 2016 Olympics Games train in empty carriage at the Deodoro train station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 16, 2016
Christophe Simon, AFP

The overall operations coordinator for Olympic security, Cristiano Barbosa Sampaio, said that "in the absence of a concrete threat against Brazil, we are on yellow alert, which calls for heightened attention and response levels from the ordinary green level."

"This involves an increase in both resources and personnel. This can be ratcheted up further to an orange or red level if a concrete threat to Brazil should be identified," he added.

On Friday, Brazil said it was bolstering security for the August 5-21 Olympics following the truck attack in Nice, which killed 84 people and left scores badly wounded. The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State group.

France has been informed of a planned terror attack on its team at the Rio Olympics, according to military officers who testified before a parliamentary inquiry commission on the terror attacks of 2015.

But Brazilian Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said that French authorities had not alerted him to such a threat.

The Brazilian intelligence agency ABIN last month picked up messages in Portuguese that it said were linked to the Islamic State group.

Brazil's Olympics security plan calls for the mobilization, starting July 24, of some 85,000 members of the security forces -- 47,000 police officers and 38,000 military service members -- to ensure the protection of the 10,500 athletes, officials and journalists attending the Games, as well as the 500,000 tourists expected to come from all parts of the world.

More about oly, 2016, Bra, Brazil, Attacks
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