SA law enforcement authorities must be made aware of any criminal activity by militant groups within the country’s borders, the International Relations Department (Dirco) has said.
The warning came after Israel’s Security Agency (ISA) released a statement indicating that it “uncovered and foiled” an “infrastructure” in Judea and Samaria. ISA claimed this was run by Iranian intelligence “which was recruited and financed by an Iranian intelligence operative living in South Africa”.
The operative, ISA said, is a computer engineering student residing in Hebron.
“He was recruited for Iranian intelligence activity by a relative who is from Hebron, but who has resided in SA in recent years.
“During the ISA investigation it has been learned that Iranian intelligence has been using South Africa as a significant centre for locating, recruiting and operating agents against Israel in Judea and Samaria.”
But Dirco spokesperson Nelson Kgwete was not aware of any such incident.
“The SA government is not involved in any way in any conflict involving any number of states in any part of the world,” he said.
“We believe in peaceful resolution of conflicts. Any person with knowledge of any criminal activity taking place within South African borders must furnish law enforcement authorities with the details of such crimes.”
ISA further claimed the SA recruit acted on behalf of Iranian intelligence agents “and invested considerable effort in recruiting operatives in Judea and Samaria and Israel for carrying out espionage and terrorist acts for the Iranians”.
The recruit “took advantage” of the operative’s 2015 trip to South Africa “and recruited him for Iranian activity”, it said.
The operative, according to ISA, was responsible for missions to advance terrorism against Israeli targets. This included recruiting suicide terrorists and a cell to carry out shooting attacks, an offer to undergo a training course in explosives and war material, opening a computer store in Hebron, photographing the store and passing the photographs on to the Iranians.
The ANC, in solidarity with Palestine, recently resolved to direct a downgrade of SA’s embassy in Israel.
This was after US President Donald Trump’s administration officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. News agency Reuters reported that three Palestinians from West Bank had been charged with espionage and terrorism.
They apparently confessed to accepting “Iranian-assigned missions, including preparation of a suicide bombing and providing their handlers with Israeli cellphone SIM cards”, Reuters reported.
An ISA veteran, it reported, told Israel Radio about the case and suggested the South African link may be unprecedented.
“Apparently the Iranians found fertile ground in South Africa,” it quoted ex-officer Adi Carmi to have said.
“I do not recall South Africa ever having been used by the Iranians as a terrorist-recruiting ground for the aim of carrying out attacks.”[source: The citizen]