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Published on : Tuesday, June 7, 2016
The advisory warned that “attacks could be indiscriminate, including places visited by foreigners such as shopping malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said, adding that British citizens were targets because of the country’s involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
American, Canadian and now British citizens living in the country or visiting have been issued advisories recently warning that the attacks could coincide with the month of Ramadan and be motivated by a global call to action by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
The American government said the “near-term” attacks facing South Africa could focus on “upscale shopping areas and malls” in the country’s two biggest cities during Ramadan.
As a result, both visible and covert security has been stepped up at well- known tourist destinations including the newly-opened Mall of Africa outside Johannesburg, the designer brand-heavy shopping mall of Sandton City and Cape Town’s Victoria and Albert Waterfront, visited in December by Prince Harry as part of a regional tour.
South Africa, whose population is 1.5 per cent Muslim, has long been a transit point for terror groups because of its patchy intelligence and police networks and populous and impenetrable townships.
Those known to have spent time in the country include Samantha Lewthwaite, the so-called White Widow of one of the London July 7 suicide bombers who is on Interpol’s “most wanted” list because of her links to the Somali terror group al-Shabaab.
Like most African nations, a small number of South Africans are believed to have travelled north to fight with Isil.
Tags: South Africa