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Brazil to boost Olympics security after Nice attack

Defense Minister Raul Jungmann expressed "worries" over the Nice attack

AFP | PTI  |  Brasilia 

The Rio 2016 sign stands in front of the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro
The Rio 2016 sign stands in front of the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil said it will bolster security for next month's Olympics in Rio following the truck attack in the French city of Nice.

Brazil's interim president Michel Temer held an emergency meeting with his intelligence chief and members of his cabinet late last night to weigh the next steps after the Nice attack, which killed at least 84 people.testing.. we are here....

As he left the meeting, intelligence chief Sergio Etchegoyen said new security measures would include extra checkpoints, barricades and traffic restrictions.

Brazil had already planned to deploy 85,000 police and soldiers to provide security for the Olympics — running August 5-21 — double the number used in the 2012 London Games.

Heightened fears, heightened security

Etchegoyen said fears over security at the Rio Games had "gone up a notch" after the attack in Nice, where a Tunisian-born man drove a 19-tonne white truck into a huge crowd gathered to watch the annual Bastille Day fireworks display on Thursday, leaving a gruesome trail of bodies in his wake.

"We're trading a little comfort for a lot more security," he told a press conference at the presidential offices.

Brazilian intelligence officials met with French counterparts for a briefing on the Nice attack, he said.

Defense Minister Raul Jungmann expressed "worries" over the Nice attack.

"This worry will translate to more checkpoints, security, staff and procedures being put in place," he told reporters at an air force base near the Rio international airport.

Jungmann said Brazil is corresponding with all 106 countries sending representatives to the event's international intelligence center.

"As of now, none of these countries have informed us of a potential or concrete threat of a terrorist attack in Brazil," Jungmann said.

Brazil is already on alert after the French military intelligence chief said France had been informed of a planned terror attack on its team at the Rio Olympics.

In June, Brazil's intelligence service said it had detected Portuguese-language messages linked to the Islamic State group on an online forum.

An even more explicit warning came after bloody attacks in Paris in November, when a French jihadist tweeted that Brazil was the "next target."

Jungmann said officials will supervise the Olympic delegations based on the security threat they face, with countries including the United States and France labeled as high-risk.

"The dozen or so countries in that group will have special accompaniment," Jungmann said.

Simulation exercises

Security services staged simulation exercises in Rio to test counterterrorism response plans.

Another exercise on "confronting external threats" is planned for today at the railway station in Deodoro, one of four Olympic zones in Rio along with Maracana, Copacabana and Barra da Tijuca.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Olympic organising committee president Carlos Nuzman met with federal and regional government officials to assess plans, notably discussing a potential increase in street blockades.

France's Clement Sordet, who lives in Nice, sported the message 'Pray for Nice'.

"My thoughts are with the families and the victims. I woke up at 4am and tried to find out what had been going on, mainly on the radio," Sordet said at the end of his round.

"The attack happened less than 500 metres from where I live. My girlfriend's family come from there.

A minute's silence was also observed at Roscoff, on the

Brittany coast on the first day of the Tour de France sailing regatta, which finishes on July 31 in the stricken Riviera resort of Nice.

The attack cast a pall over France's quarter-final Davis Cup clash in the Czech Republic.

"We woke up in sadness. We are all affected so much," France captain Noah, on the verge of tears, told journalists before the tie in the eastern Czech town of Trinec.

The French tennis great described the Bastille Day massacre as a heavy blow "for us, for our country, for all who are trying to give happiness."

First Published: Sat, July 16 2016. 11:48 IST
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