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« Slow News Day Open Thread | Main | Kenyan President Declares Siege of Westgate Over; Can't Confirm Presence of Americans, Britons in Terrorist Cell »
September 24, 2013

Britain's So-Called "White Widow," Wife of One of the 7/7 London Suicide Bombers, May Be Ringleader of Nairobi Westgate Attack

Lot of "maybes" in this. Before getting into it, Kenyan some officials deny it. The Foreign Minister floated the possibility, and then other officials denied it.

I don't know whether or not to trust them.

But Kenyan media reports there is some circumstantial evidence.

I don't know whether to trust them, either.

Witnesses to the Kenyan shopping centre massacre have said a woman who spoke English was one of the attackers.

The developments come as British counter-terrorism officials try to establish if Britons were involved in the attack, and whether or not Samantha Lewthwaite, already wanted for terror offences in Kenya, commanded the killers.

Lewthwaite is the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 suicide bombers.

On Monday, Kenyan officials said all the attackers were men. Hours later the foreign minister said a British woman who had repeatedly been involved in terrorist activity was among the attackers.

...

A Kenyan newspaper, The Star, said survivors recalled a woman giving orders as the attackers stormed the shopping centre.

It said two employees of the Radio Africa Group told the newspaper that "a woman appeared to be giving orders." They added: "One said her face was covered but she had a woman's arms and body. She was not carrying a gun but had a large bag around her waist."

The witnesses said she gave instructions in English which would be translated into Swahili as the attackers took hold of the shopping centre.

The paper quoted a witness as saying: "The woman was not armed but as soon as she issued orders, the men would go on a killing rampage."

Britain says there is "next to nothing" to indicate there was a Briton among the attackers. I don't know how reliable Kenyan newspapers are, but I imagine they're even worse than American ones. So this could all be trumped-up.

The FBI is investigating the claim that "two or three" Americans were involved in the siege. They report that some Kenyan officials deny that there was any woman among the terrorists.

"Two or three Americans" participated in the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that has left at least 62 people dead and 175 injured, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said.

A British woman was also among the alleged perpetrators tied to al-Shabab, the al Qaeda-linked rebel group that launched the attack on the upscale mall Saturday, Mohamed told PBS Newshour late Monday night.

She is the first official to allege publicly that U.S. nationals were involved in the attack. The FBI says it has been unable to verify that, and other Kenyan officials have said no women were involved, only men dressed as women.

Among the dead is a Ghanian poet who was in Kenya for a literary convention and decided to do a little shopping. Sixty-two people are said to be dead, including some soldiers that battled the terrorists. The terrorists (Al Shahab, or "The Youth," in Arabic) deny there were any foreign terrorists among them, which I take as confirmation that there were foreigners among them.

Here's a bit more background on the White Widow, or as I call her, Murder Whore.

She is the wife of Germaine Lindsay, a man who blew himself up on July 7, 2005, at London's King’s Cross subway station killing 26 people. At the time, Lewthwaite, denied having any prior knowledge of the attack. Shortly thereafter, she became a fugitive.

Lewthwaite, the 29-year-old daughter of a soldier, hails from Banbridge, County Down, Ireland. She converted to Islam as a teenager, and according to British media reports, has three children with whom she has been on the run.

In December of 2011, Kenyan police raided a two-room apartment in Mombasa, Kenya. They found chemicals similar to those used in the July 7, 2005 bombing in London. Lewthwaite was identified as the person who rented the apartment but she wasn't captured.

However, Jermaine Grant, who is British, was captured at the Mombasa apartment. He faces charges of conspiring to explode devices to hurt civilians, according to Kenyan police. Grant told police that he was working for Lewthwaite. She faces the same charges as Grant and another man later arrested trying to flee the country.

Via The Daily Mail, here's the Murder Whore's glamor shot:

But apparently terrorists know how to fake a FaceBook glamor shot too, because here's what she really looks like:

She's a foul-looking thing and we shouldn't use her carefully-composed Terrorist Selfies in stories about her.


Update: Just posted at Hot Air, a former British soldier with a handgun may have saved "100 lives" in the attack."

A former marine emerged as a hero of the Nairobi siege yesterday after he was credited with saving up to 100 lives.

The ex soldier was having coffee at the Westgate mall when it was attacked by Islamists on Saturday.

With a gun tucked into his waistband, he was pictured helping two women from the complex.

His story emerged as sporadic gunfire continued to ring out from inside the mall early today as Kenyan security forces battled Al Qaeda-linked terrorists into a fourth day.

Despite Kenyan police assurances that they had taken control of the building, a security expert with contacts inside the mall said at least 10 hostages were still being held by a band of attackers, possibly as many as 13.

The former soldier is said to have returned to the building on a dozen occasions, despite intense gunfire.

A friend in Nairobi said: ‘What he did was so heroic. He was having coffee with friends when it happened.

‘He went back in 12 times and saved 100 people. Imagine going back in when you knew what was going on inside.’

The former Marine is now a resident of Kenya and his name (and image) are being redacted for security reasons.

Update: The possibility of the White Widow's involvement seems to have been broached late yesterday by , by Kenya's Foreign Minister.

A British woman who has allegedly taken part in terrorist activity "many times before" was among the attackers who laid siege to a Kenyan shopping mall, the country's foreign minister has said.

Amina Mohamed said the militant acted alongside "two or three" Americans during the atrocity in Nairobi which has killed at least 62 people, including six Britons.

The announcement will fuel speculation that the British terrorism suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, who was married to the 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was involved.

Lewthwaite is known to be in east Africa and is wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country's coast.

Correction: I wrote this article with a chronology according to how I came across articles -- not in the order they appeared.

This is important because in the last update, I claimed that the Foreign Minister had now resolved the White Widow question in favor of her being present. That maybe there was initial confusion, but now the Foreign Minister had confirmed it.

In fact, that's not the order the stories appeared in (I think). I think first the Foreign Minister floated the possibility, and then, later, some other officials knocked his speculation down.

So it is not the case as my update originally suggested, that the Foreign Minister has the last, and authoritative, word on this. The chronology seems to be the opposite -- he floated the idea, and other officials have since disputed this claim.

So it remains unresolved, and not, as I originally wrote, settled and wrapped up neatly with a sharp little red bow.



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posted by Ace at 01:05 PM

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