South African twins charged over plot to bomb US embassy, Jewish targets

U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa ©
South African authorities have charged twin brothers who were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack on the US embassy and Jewish targets in the capital Pretoria and planning to go to Syria and join Islamic State.

The twin brothers have been charged with what a Johannesburg court called “an attempted act of terrorism,” police spokesman for the elite police unit Hawks Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Monday, according to AFP.

“It is alleged that they wanted to bomb the US embassy and Jewish facilities in the country,” Mulaudzi said.

Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, both 23, and siblings Fatima and Ibrahim Mohammed Patel who are yet to be charged were arrested in Johannesburg on Sunday, Reuters reports.

The group intended “to cause and spread feelings of terror,” in the South African Jewish areas, the court’s provisional charge sheet suggested, local media reported.

Among other things, the brothers were also accused of urging other people to “aid and abet them” in the attacks they were preparing to carry out, the sheet also said.

“The incitement was to further the political, religious or ideological motives and objectives of ... the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” it said.

The terror suspects were closely watched by authorities for almost a year before being arrested at an airport when they were about to board a plane bound for Syria.

“They had been on our radar since 2015. They tried to leave the country twice, through OR Tambo airport and through Mozambique (to join IS),” Mulaudzi added.

Their case will be heard on July 19. Until then they will be kept in detention, Mulaudzi said.

In 2015 several South African citizens returned to the country after fighting for Islamic State. The government gave them a second chance and allowed to reintegrate with the society.