Iran Regime-Backed Hezbollah Suspect Cased Out Synagogues in Brasilia, Documents Show

By Ricardo Brito

 – A Brazilian man arrested on suspicion of ties to Hezbollah had taken videos and photos of two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery in Brasilia just weeks before he was arrested on terrorist charges last month, court documents show.

Lucas Passos Lima was one of at least three men arrested in November as Brazilian federal police took down a suspected Hezbollah cell, working on a tip from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation about a possible attack in Brazil or nearby.

According to a Dec. 5 federal court document seen by Reuters, police found evidence on Lima’s seized phone “that he had carried out reconnaissance tasks in places for possible attacks against the Jewish community in Brazil.”

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In September, the document says, Lima took video and photos of the Taguatinga and Águas Claras synagogues in Brasilia, along with the Jewish area in Brasilia’s Campo da Esperança cemetery. In addition, his search history revealed research into an unnamed Jewish leader, as well as the Israeli Embassy in Brazil and Jewish locales in neighboring Goiás state.

In one of the videos on his phone, shot while driving past the Taguatinga synagogue, someone in the vehicle can be heard saying: “Bingo.”

The court document also shows that Lima had undertaken weapons training and sought out a pilot with experience crossing borders, possibly with a view to fleeing after a possible attack.

Lima is one of at least five Brazilian men suspected of being tapped by alleged Hezbollah recruiter Mohamad Khir Abdulmajid, a naturalized Brazilian who is now a fugitive.

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Hezbollah, which was set up by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982 to fight Israeli forces that had invaded Lebanon, acts as Iran’s spearhead in Lebanon and the region.

Two of the alleged recruits were granted release from temporary detention, according to the judge’s Dec. 5 decision, as they “do not offer a threat to the investigation nor society.”

However, the judge ordered Lima remanded into pre-trial detention. Abdulmajid, in absentia, was also ordered jailed pending trial.

Messages between Lima and Abdulmajid “show inordinate loyalty to the aims of the terrorist organization,” the document states. In messages from Lima to Abdulmajid, Lima regularly asks to be given “a mission.”

“You can relax, because whatever you order will be carried out,” Lima said in one message to Abdulmajid.

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(Reporting by Ricardo BritoWriting by Gabriel Stargardter, Editing by Brad Haynes and Leslie Adler)

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