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South African police arrest ‘terror’ suspects: report

Four people suspected of involvement in terror related activities in Johannesburg have been arrested, South Africa’s serious crime unit, the Hawks, told local media Sunday.

The United States and Britain warned last month of possibly imminent “terrorist” attacks by Islamic extremists in the country’s major cities.

The suspects, in their early 20s, were identified after they attempted to travel to Syria in 2015, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, without providing details of why the arrests were made at this stage.

“Investigations showed they intended to join terrorist group Isis,” Hangwani told News24.

National Hawks chief Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, said the arrests were a “very big step forward in the fight against terrorism”.

Hangwani said two of the suspects would appear in court in Johannesburg on Monday on terrorist related charges, while the others would appear separately on firearms and explosives related charges.

South Africa, which has a Muslim minority of around 1.5 percent in a population of some 53 million, has so far escaped the jihadist attacks seen in several other African countries.