FBI seeks to question alleged Al Qaeda operative in Brazil

The crest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI inside the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, DC. (AFP/Getty pic)

RIO DE JANEIRO: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to question an alleged Egyptian Al Qaeda operative believed to be living in Brazil, and the South American country has pledged to cooperate with the United States in any way it can.

The FBI added Mohamed Ahmed Elsayed Ahmed Ibrahim to its Most Wanted list on Monday, saying he was being sought “for questioning in connection with his alleged role as an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator who has allegedly been involved in plotting attacks against the United States and its interests.”

The FBI said he had been “providing material support” since about 2013 for Al Qaeda, the group behind the Sept 11 attacks in New York in 2001. It said he was born in Egypt in 1977 and is currently living in Brazil.

In a joint statement on Monday, Brazil’s ministries of justice and foreign affairs said the Egyptian had entered Brazil in 2018 and was a legal resident in the country.

“The Brazilian government is open to cooperating with US authorities on its request, in accordance with our law, and is following the case,” the statement said.

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is working to forge closer ties with US President Donald Trump, an ideological ally who has proposed a bilateral trade pact between the two largest economies in the Americas.

Security cooperation between the two countries has long been strong, with US and Brazilian officials working closely together on drug and weapons smuggling cases.

The United States has long been concerned by suspected militants from organisations such as Hezbollah who live and operate in Brazil.