South Africa Charges Four As Twins Suspected Of Planning Terrorist Attack Credited To ISIS

A pair of twins in South Africa has been charged with trying to join ISIS and planning a terrorist attack against the American Embassy. The pair of brothers were caught while trying to catch a flight to Syria.

The New York Times reported that the twins were arrested with two other people after investigators from the South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime found grenades and ammunition in a home in Johannesburg. The home belonged to one of the suspects. They were planning to bomb the American Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, as well as an unspecified building that was labeled as Jewish. A brother and sister who were also taken into custody were being held on weapons charges.

The arrests that were made in the case were part of a 10-month investigation, and all the suspects in the case lived in Johannesburg. Brandon-Lee Thulsie and Tony-Lee Thulsie, 23, appeared before the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court. They were charged with conspiracy and incitement to commit the crime of terrorism and had been accused of trying to further the objectives of the Islamic State.

The Times Live reported that the identical twins were accused of wanting to bomb the American Diplomatic Mission in South Africa. Prosecutor Chris MacAdam read the charge sheet against the twins that contained three different charges. The twins are among four different suspects who are suspected Islamic State supporters, and the raids across Gauteng were carried out by the anti-terrorism squad over the weekend. The charge sheet said that the plot began on October 5, 2015 and continued through July 8, 2016.

“The accused unlawfully and intentionally conspired to commit the crime of terrorism by planning to cause explosions at a mission of the United States of America and Jewish institutions (all such structures located in the Republic of South Africa) in order to endanger life‚ cause death and/or serious bodily harm and the destruction or substantial damage to such structures.”

Bloomberg reported that the South African police said the ISIS recruits had been recruited to target the U. S. Embassy in South Africa. These were the first arrests of ISIS recruits in the country. Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the unit, the Hawks, said that they had been monitoring the twins.

“We’ve been monitoring the movements of these four and on Saturday we were executing search warrants and that’s when we managed to seize some of the stuff that pointed directly to them, hence the decision to arrest them.”

Last month the U. S., United Kingdom, and Australian governments issued alerts about the possibility of attacks in South Africa. The area targeted contains many high-traffic shopping malls, and there was the possibility of assaults against some of the country’s largest cities during the month of Ramadan, an Islamic holiday that ended last week. The South African government said that it was aware of the alerts, but also said that there was no danger of attacks.

The twins were remanded into custody at their hearing and are expected to appear in the South Africa courts once again on July 19. The other two suspects in the case, who haven’t been named yet, are expected to appear in court on July 18. Although they are being held on charges of illegal weapons, including stun grenades, no word has been given on what the penalty will be if they are convicted.

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]