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South Africa on high terror alert

Shopping Malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa’s top business city and tourist destination respectively, are on high alert this weekend following warnings of potential terrorist attacks.

The United States (US) Embassy to South Africa issued an alert over the weekend, after the US government had received information that “terrorist groups are planning to carry out near-term attacks against places where US citizens congregate in South Africa, such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town”.

The alert from the US embassy was followed by one from the British Embassy on Monday. In its alert, the UK Embassy also noted “a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria”.

The Australian Embassy followed up with a similar warning to its citizens later that day, making reference to the US alert.

The information came after the Islamic State (IS) publically called for followers to carry out terrorist attacks across the world during the month of Ramadan, the US Embassy announced.

The Department of State Security on Monday said that it was investigating the threat and liaising with US, but played down the risk, describing the alert as “part of the US government standard precautionary communication to its residents”.

“We remain a strong and stable democratic country and there is no immediate danger posed by the alert” State Security Minister David Mahlobo said.

“The V&A Waterfront is on high alert and has responded under the guidance of the South African security services” Carla White, the spokeswoman for the popular tourist destination of V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

She added that the centre was working with the police and security presence had been increased.

Visiting the Waterfront, locals and tourists were dining and shopping without apparent worry, although crowds were quite thin as is to be expected during the winter low season for tourism.

A similar threat was issued last September by the US, which later on turned out to be a false warning.


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