Planned terror attack in South Africa foiled according to leaked spy documents

26 February 2015 - 19:19 By Sapa
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A planned terrorist attack in South Africa in 2010 was foiled by South African authorities, according to leaked documents posted on Al Jazeera's website.

The information arises from two State Security Agency presentations, which are among several leaked documents the broadcaster obtained.

According to the presentations, the foiled attack came to light through Jermaine Grant, who was arrested in Kenya in December 2011 for alleged links to terrorism.

During his arrest police found materials similar to those used during the July 7, 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London.

The presentations stated that a financier arrested in April/May of 2011 said he was tasked by Al-Qaeda figure Harun Al Fadul, also known as Harun Fazul, to go to the United Arab Emirates and meet another person regarding the attack in South Africa.

The purpose of the meeting was to get money to carry out the bomb attack in South Africa, which would involve five suicide bombers.

The operation had been in planning since 2007 and needed up to US1 million to carry out.

At the meeting, Al Fadul's contact told the financier the money was not available, but that they would do their best to get it, although it would take time.

The financier later held further discussions with operatives in Dubai regarding the South Africa attack, with a Jewish conference in Cape Town mentioned during discussions.

Grant, following his arrest, named close associate Samantha Lewthwaite, known to Grant as Natalie Faye Webb, as one of the key operatives planning attacks against Kenya.

Lewthwaite, a British citizen, came to South Africa on July 18, 2008, and was deported to the United Kingdom on June 16, 2009.

Lewthwaite changed her personal details and got a passport in the name of Asmaa Shahidah Bint-Andrews.

She re-entered South Africa on September 2, 2009, and was presumed to have assumed the stolen identity of Natalie Faye Webb, which was activated on October 30, 2008, on the home affairs department's system.

According to the documents, liaison information indicated that Lewthwaite was thought to be involved in Al-Shabaab operations and in charge of logistics, especially housing and transport in a planned attack targeting Kenya.

The Al Jazeera reports further indicated that Webb, Lewthwaite and Bint-Andrews were the same person. Lewthwaite was the widow of July 7, 2005 bomber Jermaine Lindsay.

Lewthwaite reportedly stayed in South Africa between 2009 and 2011.