‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite feared to be planning more attacks

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Police fear Samantha Lewthwaite – the fugitive Brit dubbed the ‘White Widow’ – is planning more terror attacks, after documents found on her laptop linked her to the Nairobi mall massacre.

The laptop seized in Kenya in 2011 contained documents that revealed the British suspect had been plotting to target a mall in Kenya’s capital for at least two years.

The computer showed Lewthwaite had carried out detailed research on how to make bombs and explosives.

“The international security community is working round the clock to identify her whereabouts and capture her without delay,” a source said.

“The lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people are at risk if she is able to launch an attack. She needs to be stopped in her tracks before it is too late.

“She is a danger to the world.”

Authorities think Lewthwaite had probably been planning an attack on a different mall in 2011, but realised her plan last month at Westgate shopping centre where at least 67 people were murdered in cold blood.

Lewthwaite, 29, who is nicknamed White Widow because she was married to the 2005 London bombings suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay, has been dubbed the world’s most wanted woman after the Westgate atrocity.

She has been in hiding since December 2011 after police linked her and fellow Briton Jermaine Grant, 30, to a foiled bombing plot against Western tourists in Kenya.

The White Widow was made the subject of a high-alert Red Notice by Interpol after being linked to the massacre.

Police sources have revealed for the first time that there is “specific intelligence” that puts Lewthwaite at the heart of at least six separate bomb plots in Kenya.

One was a grenade attack on a sports bar in Mombasa last year when a little boy was killed.

 

Kenyan police find car used in mall attack

KENYA’S counter-terrorism police unit has released closed-circuit television footage that shows two men entering a local bank where they collected money and paid for a car used to bring terrorists to Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, indicating the deadly attack was planned weeks in advance, officials say.

Boniface Mwaniki, the head of Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, said the men had gone to Barclays Bank on September 6 and retrieved enough money to pay for the 340,000 shilling (about $A4253) car.

The Mitsubishi Lancer was found blocking the main entrance of the mall with two grenade pins inside, indicating the grenades had been thrown from inside the vehicle, Mwaniki said on Sunday.

Several survivors of the attack, who were near the entrance of Westgate, said that the terrorists first lobbed grenades into the interior of the mall, a blast which caused the glass facade of a jewellery shop to shatter, stunning the unarmed guards, who abandoned their posts.

“If you know how a grenade works, you’d know that you remove the pin, and then you throw it (the grenade). The pin gets dropped wherever you are,” Mwaniki said, to explain how police used the location of the pin to identity the vehicle as the attackers’ car.

Long after shoppers returned to the mall to retrieve their abandoned cars, the grey-coloured Mitsubishi remained unclaimed in front of the shopping centre, he said.

The footage played for reporters on Sunday showed two men entering the Queensway branch of Barclays in Nairobi. One of the men is described as light-skinned, around 5-feet-8-inches tall and believed to be Kenyan of Somali origin, from Mandera, a town near the Kenya-Somali border, according to a statement. Police identified him as Abd Kadir Haret Muhamed, also known as Muhamed Hussen. They said that he spoke Swahili fluently, as well as Sheng.

The suspect is married to a Kenyan woman, Shurekha Hussen, who was recently arrested by police and helped investigators identify the second suspect, Mwaniki said.

The second man captured on camera is believed to be Somali, identified as Adan Dheq, also known as Hussen Abdi Ali and Abdulahi Dugon Subow, police said. He is 5-feet-5-inches tall, and speaks “broken” Swahili, according to the statement.

Mwaniki cautioned that the two suspects identified on Sunday may not have been inside the mall during the attack.

“We don’t yet know. But it appears that these were the guys doing the logistics,” he said.

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Kenya: More arrests as hunt continues for white widow

THE white widow’s secret marriage has been revealed as more arrests were made over the Kenyan tragedy amid horrific accounts of final moments of its youngest victims.

Local authorities made another arrest overnight as part of the ongoing investigation into the four-day siege at the Westgate mall in Nairobi by Islamic militant group al-Shabaab which left 67 people dead.

Some of the tragedy’s youngest victims were shot up to five times by armed militants, according to UK media reports.

WHITE WIDOW’S SECRET MARRIAGE

The Northern-Ireland born terror suspect is married to a former officer from the Kenyan Navy that the paper identifies as Abdi Wahid.

The 29-year-old Muslim convert was the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the suicide bombers who participated in the London underground bombing in 2005. Details of her second marriage are revealed in her Scotland Yard file.

Aged in his 40s, new husband Mr Wahid travels freely and is thought to be in Europe, though it is not known when he married Ms Lewthwaite.

Their union remains a mystery to British authorities as in addition to working for the navy in Kenya, Mr Wahid also worked as a security contractor in Afghanistan. He had previously been listed as her landlord at two properties where she and her young children stayed in Mombasa before January 2012.

He had been arrested by local authorities in 2011 when it was thought that Ms Lewthwaite and her associated were using one of the properties to manufacture explosives. he was later released without charge. He is also thought to have another wife in Mombasa.

Ms Lewthwaite is known to be in East Africa and is wanted over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country’s coastal resorts. Interpol issued a notice asking for help in capturing the 29-year-old fugitive over the 2011 plot.

HORRIFIC ACCOUNTS OF YOUNG VICTIMS’ FINAL MOMENTS

Meanwhile, horrific accounts have surfaces of the final moments of some of the youngest victims of the massacre at the Westage mall.

Teenager Nehal Vekariya was talking on her mobile phone to her parents when she was shot in the eye, according to The Sunday Times.

The 16-year-old was talking to her father and said: “She said “I’m okay, I’m with friends, call Mummy fast and tell her I’m okay”.”

When her mother rang her, all she could hear was yelling and gunshots before the line went dead.

She wasn’t the only young victim cut down, with the paper reporting that victims as young as five were shot multiple times by the militants.

Many of the young victims had been at the shopping centre to take part in a junior cooking class.

Witnesses said that militants shot the young victims up to five times. One witness said a militant told him: “You didn’t spare our women and children. Why should we spare yours?“

KENYANS FRUSTRATED DESPITE ARRESTS

Overnight Kenya’s security services made another arrest in connection with the deadly attack, a top official said, but declined to say how authorities believe the person was involved in the siege.

Kenya has arrested 12 people since the attack but three have been freed, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said during a press conference. He declined to say if any of those arrested had been in the mall during the attack.

Investigators have also identified a car used by the gunmen, from the Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabab, and found in it “an assortment of illegal weapons,” said Lenku.

The siege, which included the collapse of part of the mall, left 67 people dead, according to officials. But the Red Cross says 59 people remain missing, though the government puts that number at zero.

Kenyans have become increasingly frustrated over the government’s unwillingness to share information about the attack. Almost no details have been released about what happened after the first hours of the siege.

“We ask you to bear with us,” he said, of the government’s unwillingness to share information.

While the mall was a chaotic scene for many hours after the attack began, with people moving in and out of the upscale shopping centre, Lenku insisted no terrorists could have escaped.

“Our forces sealed off every point of exit,” he said. “It was completely secured.”

Earlier Sunday, about 200 Kenyan Muslims held a rally near the mall to remember the dead and call for peace.

“We condemn the terror attack on Westgate Mall,” said one sign. “One Country. One People. One Love. Kenya Asia Muslims,” said another.

Many of those at the rally were from Kenya’s Asian community, the descendants of people who came from colonial India — what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh — to work in Kenya more than a century ago.

Wife of London 7/7 suicide bomber tagged the ‘White Widow’ Body Found in Kenyan terror attack

THE terror attack on a Kenyan shopping centre that has left 68 dead was being led by the white English widow of a 7/7 London suicide bomber, it was claimed today.

Soldiers said a white woman wearing a veil was shouting orders to gunmen in Arabic during the bloody massacre inside the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

Islamist terror group Al Shabaab claimed it carried out the atrocity in which three Britons were killed and 175 people were left injured.

It said last night on Twitter that Samantha Lewthwaite, the ‘white widow’ of London 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was ‘in their ranks’ and a ‘brave lady’.

Police, however, have told reporters that they are still investigating the possibility the woman may have been a hostage dressed in one of the terrorists’ clothes as a “decoy” during the attack which saw Kenyan authorities regain control of most of the four-storey shopping mall.

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Lewthwaite, known as the “White Widow” to Britain’s tabloid media, is wanted on a string of terrorism related charges in Kenya. The 29-year-old mother of four, from the Home Counties, is believed to be a leading figure in Somali terror organisation Al Shabaab.

She is also wanted for questioning in relation to a series of coordinated suicide attacks in central London on July 7, 2005, in which her husband blew himself up. A double-decker bus and several underground trains were attacked, killing the four suicide bombers and 52 civilians.

Fifteen hostages were still trapped inside the shopping centre after more than 24 hours of carnage in which men, women and children were slaughtered if they could not recite the Koran or name the mother of the Prophet Mohammed.

As well as boasting Lewthwaite was with them, Al Shabaab claimed two British men from London, Liban Adam, 23, and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, were among the ‘holy warriors’ in the attack.

The group is said to be highly organised, with huge amounts of ammunition as well as night vision equipment. They have destroyed CCTV cameras inside the shopping mall, meaning they cannot be watched. With horrific cruelty, they have reportedly cut the hands off the bodies of their victims and burned their faces to try to conceal their identities.

Writing on Twitter, the terrorists said: ‘Sherafiyah lewthwaite aka samantha is a vrave [brave] lady! were [we are] happier to have her in our ranks!’ Sherafiyah is the Muslim name now used by Lewthwaite.

Another tweet read: ‘our mujahideen are prepared to die for our cause!’

Last night the terrorists were closed into the second and third floors of a storage warehouse in the mall. Soldiers claimed to have taken control of the ground and first floors.

One said: ‘It is all being controlled by this muzungu [Swahili for white] woman. She is ordering them what to do. We are getting closer to them.’

The massacre began on Saturday shortly before midday local time. Witnesses told how terrorists, their faces hidden with Islamic scarfs, stormed the shopping mall and started tossing grenades and spraying shoppers with AK-47s.

The gunmen ordered all Muslims to leave before carrying out rudimentary tests to see if hostages could recite the Koran and name the mother of the Prophet Mohammed.

Terrified shoppers fled and hid in storerooms, restaurants and a cinema, with the wounded being carried out in shopping trolleys.

Shoppers who were able to prove they were Muslim were among the 1,000 who escaped unharmed, while those who failed were shot for being ‘kafir’, a derogatory term for non-Muslims. One man, who hid in a box of cartons, said: ‘If they had found me … I’m white and so I’m dead. They hate your skin colour.’

Those killed so far vary in age from two to 78.

A spokesman for Al Shabaab, the East African arm of Al-Qaeda, said all Britons in Kenya are ‘legitimate’ targets because the UK has supported the African country’s military intervention in neighbouring Somalia.

The Twitter account purporting to belong to the terrorist organisation also said ‘there would be no negotiations whatsoever’.

The siege of the Israeli-owned mall bears all the hallmarks of Muslim-convert Lewthwaite, 29, who is on the run in East Africa after Kenyan police foiled her plot to blow up a shopping centre and two hotels in Mombasa two years ago.

The Home Counties mother-of-four is now one of the main financiers and bomb-making tutors for Al Shabaab. A senior Kenyan terrorist official said last night: ‘I suspect this woman is behind this attack because she has been financing the activities of the Al-Qaeda cell in Mombasa.’

Last night British, US and Israeli security forces joined their Kenyan counterparts to try to regain control of the mall. There were unconfirmed reports that some hostages had been executed after attempts by the military to launch an assault on the roof.

Some claimed hostages were ‘shot and thrown out of the window’ of the building’s fourth floor.

Other attackers identified on the Twitter account were from Finland, Kenya, Somalia, Canada and America.

Last night, Al Shabaab spokesman Mukhtaar Robow told Channel 4: ‘The English know Somalis will not give up the fight.’

Prime Minister David Cameron described the assault as ‘absolutely sickening’.

President Barack Obama says the United States stands with Kenya against the “terrible outrage” of a shopping mall terrorist attack.
Obama says the United States is providing law enforcement assistance and all the help it can to deal with the tragedy.

Obama was making his first public remarks on the attack while meeting with Nigeria’s president on the sidelines of the United Nations Monday. Obama had called Kenya’s president over the weekend to offer condolences and support.

Obama said the attack shows the international community must stand against the “senseless violence” he said groups like al-Shabab represent.

 

‘Not under control’: Aust lawyer in Kenya

AN Australian lawyer who was in the Kenyan shopping mall attacked over the weekend says there was confusion about what was going on during the incident.

Heidi Edwards, who is working with the Kenya Human Rights Commission, told  about finding a service exit to escape from the upmarket Westgate mall in Nairobi after the attack began.

At least 68 people are now confirmed to have died in the attack by Somali militants, but most of the hostages within the mall have been rescued, according to Kenyan authorities on Monday morning.

“It sounded like scaffolding falling at first, I wasn’t that concerned,” Ms Edwards said.

“Then there was some panic going on and then another one (noise) in quick succession and then some gunshots.”

She found an unlocked “staff only” door leading to a service exit and used the stairs to get down to the ground floor along with a group of people.

“Somebody else, not us, poked their head out and saw a gunman,” Ms Edwards said.

“I don’t know if it was one of the assailants, it might have been a police officer.

“So we had no real choice but to stay in the stairwell.”

When she heard the grenades start up again, “it was clear it was not under control”.

“When they started again it was clear to me that there was someone with a lot of artillery and that was when I started to get quite nervous,” she said.

“There was no sirens which, for a Westerner was quite surprising – if that happened in Australia there would be sirens everywhere.

“It was just confusion more than anything else.”

Melbourne woman Sarah Williamson also survived the attack, with her father who works for the UN.

“She heard the first grenade go off and said, ‘What was that, dad?’,” mum Linda told Fairfax radio.

“Then he heard the guns firing and he knew exactly what it was and he said, ‘We’re under attack, everybody to the back of the room.'”

The 23-year-old spent six hours trapped in the store before she could run to safety.

An Australian-UK dual citizen is among those confirmed dead.

Australians still in Kenya have been urged to avoid all public places in Nairobi for the next 24-48 hours and closely monitor local media.

Kenya mall shoppers shot by ‘Foreign’ gunmen

Gunmen who attacked a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi were speaking in a foreign language and were seen executing a number of shoppers, an eyewitness says.
“They were not speaking Swahili. They spoke something that seemed like Arabic or Somali, but I’m not sure as I don’t speak those languages,” the witness, who only wanted to give his first name, Jay, said after fleeing the mall.

“I saw people being executed after being asked to say something,” he said, adding he had seen 11 dead bodies inside the mall.

Masked gunmen stormed the upmarket mall on Saturday and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff, killing at least six, before holing themselves up in the complex with hostages.
Police were going shop-to-shop to evacuate terrified people from the Westgate, which is popular with wealthy Kenyans and expatriates and generally packed on weekends.
The attackers sprayed gunfire inside the four-storey mall, causing a huge panic before police units moved in to secure the compound’s exits and the situation evolved into a standoff.

“They have seven hostages, confirmed,” a police officer said at the scene as security forces were trying to secure a multi-screen cinema complex.

A reporter saw at least 20 people rescued from a toy shop on one of the upper floors of the mall.

Dozens of wounded, some of them bleeding children, were stretchered away from the mall.

A shop manager who managed to escape said at one point “it seemed that the shooters had taken control of all the mall”.

Shocked people could be seen running away from the Westgate centre clutching children while others crawled along walls to avoid stray bullets.

“The gunmen tried to fire at my head but missed. At least 50 people were shot. There are definitely many casualties,” mall employee Sudjar Singh said.

“I saw a young boy carried out on a shopping cart, it looked like he was about 5 or 6. It looked like he was gone, he was not moving or making any noise.”

Vehicles riddled with bullet holes were left abandoned in front of the mall as police instructed residents of the Westlands neighbourhood to stay away.

“Our officers are on the ground carrying out an evacuation of those inside as they search for the attackers who are said to be inside,” Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said.

“We have managed to evacuate some people to safety. We urge Kenyans to avoid the area as we pursue the thugs,” Kenya’s interior ministry said on Twitter.
The Westgate mall, which opened in 2007, has restaurants, cafes, banks, a large supermarket and a cinema that attract thousands of people every day and have made it a Nairobi landmark.

It is popular with the large expatriate community living in the residential neighbourhoods around it, including with foreign staff from the United Nations, which has its third largest global centre nearby.