Brazilian police have thwarted an attempt by neo-Nazis to bomb at least two synagogues in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. Police inspector Paulo Cesar Jardim said that a "major tragedy" was prevented. He said that the neo-Nazi group is comprised of about 50 well-organized dangerous criminals.
A statement by the group said its goal was to harass Jews and homosexuals in order to “purify the race.” Fourteen members were arrested and released on bail. During the search, the Brazilian police found homemade bombs, knives, and Nazi propaganda.
No Link to NY Terrorists
The police say the Brazilian men had no links to the four men who attempted to plant bombs in two New York synagogues on Wednesday.
Henry Chmelnitsky, president of the Jewish Federation in Porto Alegre, where some 13,000 Jews live, isn’t overly concerned about the arrest of the gang. “We are more preoccupied with Ahmadinejad and his anti-Semitic opinions and Holocaust denial [than about] a group of radicals who could do a lot more damage to our community," he told the Associated Press. While the community should be more on the alert, he feels that there is no need for panic.
In the aftermath of the neo-Nazi arrests, the Jewish community has not implemented any special security measures. Guards already man the synagogue entrances on Friday night and Saturday morning.
Anti-Semitism in Argentina
Coming after violent anti-Semitic attacks at a recent public street celebration, two Buenos Aires, Argentina synagogues received bomb threats earlier this week that proved false. The Amaijai and New Israeli Community synagogues, which received the threats, are both located in the Jewish neighborhood of Belgrano.
Local Jewish political umbrella president Aldo Donzis said that anti-Semitic incidents in Buenos Aires increased during Israel’s military operation in Gaza at the beginning of the year, and that new incidents are currently popping up that are “not even linked to Gaza, but are merely anti Jewish.”