Jonathan Shapiro. Picture: THE TIMES
Jonathan Shapiro. Picture: THE TIMES

Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, also known as Zapiro, was allegedly on the hit list of terror-accused twin brothers Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, whose reading included articles such as "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom".

This is according to the state's provisional indictment submitted in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

The state alleges that the 23-year-olds were researching how to mount terrorist attacks in South Africa after their attempts to leave the country to join the Islamic State failed.

Seven other alleged targets included King David High School in Linksfield, Johannesburg, and the diplomatic missions of the UK, the US and Russia, all in Pretoria.

Plans for the attacks were allegedly made by the brothers between 2015 and their arrest on July 9 2016.

The state alleges that in August 2015 Tony-Lee contacted an IS network and others on messaging app Telegram and was ordered to "kill Zapiro who drew the Messenger of Allah cartoon".

He was allegedly told that "South Africa was part of the war against terrorism in that it supplied weapons to Arab states and contributed to African Union military initiatives".

The indictment said "South Africa was labelled as a 'great supporter and propagator of gays and democracy'."

"... The said terrorist activities would have been perpetrated by using firearms, explosives and possibly poisons," the indictment said.

Shapiro was not available for comment.

King David High School general director Rabbi Craig Kacev said the school had been informed by the authorities of the twins' plans.

"Our schools are always on high alert - all schools should be in light of what is happening around the world. Anyone could be a target."

Tony-Lee is accused of discussing terrorist plans with an undercover US Federal Bureau of Investigation agent between May and June 2016, believing the agent to be an IS operative based in the US. He allegedly sought advice on making bombs and asked for funding.

He is also accused of soliciting support for IS using his personal Facebook page.

Brandon-Lee allegedly acquired the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook by Abdek-Aziz, and the manual How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide, which teaches its readers how to "live a double life" and "how to keep your secret life private".

The state says that the brothers collected issues of Inspire, the magazine of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The issues contained an illustrated guide on making explosive devices, inciting participation in "jihad" and providing training in weapons and combat, the indictment said.

Tony-Lee allegedly acquired pages from an edition of Inspire that carried an article about making bombs "in your mother's kitchen".

He also downloaded a book titled Muslim Gangs, which "contains highly useful information for any person wishing to carry out a terrorist attack", the state said.

The case was postponed to May 15 to allow for the transferring of the prosecution to the High Court.

Prosecutor Chris MacAdam said a decision had to be made as to whether a fraud charge was to be consolidated and tried with the other charges in the High Court.

The Times

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