Sunday 28 December 2014

British 'White Widow' may be linked to attack

Tom Whitehead

Published 23/09/2013 | 05:00

Intelligence services are investigating whether the suspected "white widow" terrorist, Samantha Lewthwaite, was involved in the Nairobi attack.

Lewthwaite, the British widow of the July 7 bomber, Germaine Lindsay, right, is already suspected of plotting to attack venues popular with Westerners in Kenya and is in hiding. She was accused of being part of a terrorist cell that allegedly involved other Britons and has been linked with the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Concerns over her possible involvement grew last night amid reports that at least one of the attackers was a woman.

Security sources said there was no intelligence to suggest she was among the attackers but it could not be "completely discounted" yet.

Kenya has had a long struggle against terrorism because of its border with Somalia, the stronghold of al-Shabaab. The Nairobi attack is the latest in a series to involve Britons as victims or suspects. As a result, Britain and Kenya's security and intelligence services have strong links.

Lewthwaite evaded Kenyan authorities after she was accused of being involved in a cell that planned to attack a hotel or a shopping mall in 2011.

Policemen search a man for weapons as he walked out of Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Militant gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 39 people, including children, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Kenyan security forces were still locked in a standoff on Sunday with the al Qaeda-linked militants, who were holding an unknown number of hostages. Picture taken September 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
Policemen search a man for weapons as he walked out of Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Militant gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 39 people, including children, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Kenyan security forces were still locked in a standoff on Sunday with the al Qaeda-linked militants, who were holding an unknown number of hostages. Picture taken September 21, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH Relatives and Muslim faithful bury the slain body of Rehmad Mehbub, 18, who was killed in a crossfire between armed men and the police at the Westgate shopping mall, in Kenya's capital Nairobi September 22, 2013. Islamist militants were holed up with hostages on Sunday at a shopping mall in Nairobi, where at least 59 people have been killed in an attack by the al Shabaab group that opposes Kenya's participation in a peacekeeping mission in neighbouring Somalia. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW OBITUARY) TEMPLATE OUT
A general view shows cars parked at the Westgate shopping mall during a shootout between armed men and the police in Nairobi September 22, 2013. Kenyan security forces were locked in a stand-off on Sunday with gunmen who killed at least 39 people at the upmarket shopping mall in the Kenyan capital, and it was still unclear how many hostages the al Qaeda-linked militants were holding. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
A soldier from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) holds his gun as he arrives at the Westgate Shopping Centre in the capital Nairobi September 22, 2013. Kenyan security forces were locked in a stand-off on Sunday with gunmen who killed at least 39 people at an upmarket shopping mall in the Kenyan capital, and it was still unclear how many hostages the al Qaeda-linked militants were holding. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA - Tags: SOCIETY CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW MILITARY)
REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT Armed police guide a woman carrying a child to safety at Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
People run for cover as the stand-off continues into the night at Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, killing at least 30 people including children and sending scores fleeing in panic, in an attack claimed by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab. Shooting continued hours after the initial assault as troops surrounded the Westgate mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting the attackers shop by shop. A police officer inside the building said the gunmen were barricaded inside a Nakumatt supermarket, one of Kenya's biggest chains. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
A Kenyan army soldier takes cover behind a wall at Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, killing at least 30 people including children and sending scores fleeing in panic, in an attack claimed by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab. Shooting continued hours after the initial assault as troops surrounded the Westgate mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting the attackers shop by shop. A police officer inside the building said the gunmen were barricaded inside a Nakumatt supermarket, one of Kenya's biggest chains. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)
A Kenyan army soldier keeps guard in an armoured carrier vehicle, at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, killing at least 30 people including children and sending scores fleeing in panic, in an attack claimed by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab. Shooting continued hours after the initial assault as troops surrounded the Westgate mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting the attackers shop by shop. A police officer inside the building said the gunmen were barricaded inside a Nakumatt supermarket, one of Kenya's biggest chains. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)
People run for cover as the stand-off continues into the night at Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, killing at least 30 people including children and sending scores fleeing in panic, in an attack claimed by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab. Shooting continued hours after the initial assault as troops surrounded the Westgate mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting the attackers shop by shop. A police officer inside the building said the gunmen were barricaded inside a Nakumatt supermarket, one of Kenya's biggest chains. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
Armed police search Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi, September 21, 2013. Militant gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 25 people, including children, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Shooting continued hours after the initial assault as troops surrounded the Westgate mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
Civilians escape an area at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
Security officers secure an area inside Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
Civilians escape an area at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
A girl is helped by police officers inside Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
A police officer tries to secure an area inside the Westgate Shopping Centre where gunmen went on a shooting spree in Nairobi September 21, 2013. The gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. Some local television stations reported hostages had been taken, but there was no official confirmation. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
An injured woman (C) is helped out of the Westgate Shopping Centre where gunmen went on a shooting spree, in Nairobi September 21, 2013. The gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST)
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH An injured policeman holds on to his wound as his compatriot searches through the Westgate shopping centre for gunmen in Nairobi, September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in the Kenyan capital on Saturday killing at least 15 people, according to the Kenyan Red Cross, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets seeking safety. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

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