U.S. embassy says it has information on planned terrorist attacks in South Africa

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State Department Warns of Euro 2016 'Terrorist' Attack

The U.S. government has received information that terrorist groups are planning to carry out attacks against places where its citizens congregate in shopping areas in South Africa, its embassy said on Saturday.

"This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan," it said in a statement posted on its website. http://1.usa.gov/1UkdY8R

It singled out up-market shopping areas and malls in the commercial hub of Johannesburg and Cape Town, widely regarded as South Africa's tourism capital, as the main target areas.

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Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamist terrorist group
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U.S. embassy says it has information on planned terrorist attacks in South Africa
ALEPPO, SY - FEBRUARY 13: Yahea Ateq, a fighter in the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra faction, was a stone mason before joining the civil war and returned to the fight just days after suffering three bullet wounds that stopped just short of his heart. (Paul Watson/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
A wall in the Syrian city of Raqqa reads: 'Stay away, this property belongs to Muslims. (Signed) Jabhat al Nusra.' Jabhat al Nusra, a group calling for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria, has recently clashed with rebel groups that espouse a more moderate interpretation of Islam. (David Enders/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Syrian Kurds mourn over a picture of a relative as his body is transported from a hospital before the burial on August 27, 2013 of three Kurdish militia fighters from the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) who were reportedly killed in an attack on their checkpoint by militants from the radical Islamist group Jabhat Al-Nusra in the Kurdish town of Derik, known in Arabic as al-Malikiyah, in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh governorate, on the border with Turkey and Iraq. A new wave of Syrians began pouring into northern Iraq in mid-August, seeking refuge from fighting between Kurdish forces and Islamist rebels, as well as from an economy in tatters. Syria's Kurds, who number over two million and are concentrated in the north and northeast of the country. AFP PHOTO/BENJAMIN HILLER (Photo credit should read BENJAMIN HILLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
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South African police declined to comment and said they were studying the U.S. embassy statement.

Last September, the U.S. also warned its citizens of a possible attack by "extremists" against its interests in South Africa, a stable democracy seldom associated with Islamist militancy.

The embassy and consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town closed for several days in 2009 after what U.S. officials described as a "specific" threat to diplomatic missions in South Africa.

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