'ISIS-inspired' Plan to Blow Up Jewish, American Institutions in South Africa Revealed

Twin brothers, 24, intended 'to cause and spread terror' in South Africa's Jewish community in what a Johannesburg court calls an attempted act of terrorism.

Illustration: A South African honor guard.
Marco Longari, AFP

Twin brothers have been charged with conspiring to blow up various Jewish institutions and a U.S. mission in South Africa, a police spokesman said Monday, in what a Johannesburg court has called an attempted act of terrorism.

Spokesman Hangwane Mulaudzi said that Brandon-Lee Thulsie and Tony-Lee Thulsie, 24, and two other people, identified as siblings Fatima and Ibrahim Mohammed Patel, who are yet to be charged were arrested in Johannesburg on Saturday. The brothers are accused of intending "to cause and spread feelings of terror," particularly in South Africa's "Jewish sector," the court's provisional charge sheet said, News24 reported.

The Patel siblings appeared in a separate court Monday after a stun grenade and live ammunition were confiscated during a raid on their home outside Johannesburg on Saturday night, said Phindi Louw, a spokeswoman for the National Prosecuting Authority.

The Thulsie brothers' planned attack may have been "to further the ... motives and objectives" of ISIS, according to the court. The four were arrested before boarding a flight to Syria and had been under surveillance for nearly a year. "The allegation is that after the training, they would come back to South Africa," Malaudzi said.

The twins, who will have the opportunity to apply for bail on July 19, "have been charged with conspiracy," Mulaudzi added. "The Patel siblings have been charged with the violation of the Firearms Control Act for now." 

This was not the first time South Africa had arrested someone suspected of trying to leave the country to join ISIS. Last year, a 15-year-old girl was arrested on a flight in Cape Town while on her way to join the group, the state security ministry said. It was the country's first known detention linked to the militant group.