Terror raid 'led by white widow': Gang mastermind in veil barked orders at gunmen in mall massacre that left three Britons dead
- Kenyan official reveals he suspects the involvement of fugitive 7/7 'white widow' Samantha Lewthwaite
- UK death toll expected to rise following Saturday's attack at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, Kenya
- Men, women and children slaughtered if they could not recite Koran or name Prophet Mohammed's mother
- Terror group Al Shabaab posts names online of some of 15 'holy warriors' who it says carried out attack
- Al Shabaab claims two British men from London, Liban Adam and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, were involved
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 bomber, it was claimed last night.
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’.
Fifteen hostages were still trapped inside the shopping centre after more than 24 hours of carnage.
The attack saw men, women and children 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.
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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 scarves, 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’.
Why the white widow is the prime suspect
By ANDREW MALONE
Last night, as the bodies were still being counted at the shopping mall, one British woman was notably slow to join the condemnation.
For Samantha Lewthwaite, the daughter of a former British soldier who grew up attending school discos in Buckinghamshire, views these awful events as a cause for jubilation.
Kenyan anti-terror police revealed yesterday that Lewthwaite – who is known to many as the White Widow – may be the brains behind the operation to bring terror to the heart of Kenya, a country once synonymous with the sexual high-jinks of the Happy Valley expatriate set, but rapidly becoming a new battleground in the war between Islamists and the West.
‘I suspect this woman Lewthwaite is behind this attack,’ a senior anti-terror source told me last night as survivors described how a woman in a veil appeared to be commanding the other terrorists as they hunted down and killed non-Muslim shoppers.
The idea that Lewthwaite might have led the assault herself is not far-fetched at all.
Having converted to Islam as a young woman and married a man who went on to be a 7/7 London suicide bomber, she has become a key figure in the terror group behind this weekend’s attack.
Lewthwaite has even been involved in training a group of all-female suicide attackers at camps in lawless neighbouring Somalia.
It is an extraordinary, macabre journey into darkness for the 29-year-old, who grew up as a normal teenager in Aylesbury before meeting Jermaine Lindsay, a British Muslim, in an online chat room when she was 17. The pair married three years later.
When her husband was named as one of four suicide bombers who blew up Tube trains and a bus in 2005, killing 52 people, Lewthwaite initially condemned her late husband’s attack and denied any knowledge of his plan.
This was a lie. More than eight years later, Lewthwaite is one of Al Qaeda’s main recruiters in East Africa and is an official spokesman for Al Shabaab (The People), the terrorist group behind the horror in Nairobi.
As well as railing against ‘infidels in the West’, Lewthwaite had previously used a Twitter account to denounce a rival foreign terrorist in the text-speak of a teenager.
‘Fyi [for your information] sam lewthwaite thinks u r a irritating obnoxious contemptible little Muj PRAT,’ she wrote. (‘Muj’ is a contraction of mujahideen – a jihadist).
The object of her anger was Omar Shafik Hammami, a former student from Alabama. Last week he was shot dead in an ambush by terrorists loyal to the White Widow.
‘May his fate serve as a lesson to all those who want to follow in his footsteps as a poster boy for jihad,’ Lewthwaite wrote gleefully on Twitter.
To add to her name for ruthlessness, the White Widow did not mention in her tweets that a British man reputed to be her second husband was also killed in the ambush.
Her fearless reputation within Africa’s growing Islamic terror network has been strengthened by her own involvement as a mujahid – or warrior – during a series of bombings and shootings in Kenya’s tourist areas.
Known to her devoted followers as dada muzungu – Swahili for white sister – Lewthwaite moved to Kenya with her three children in 2007.
A small, dumpy woman, she cut off all links with her family in Britain and became immersed in East Africa’s Islamic terror networks, forging links with other British fanatics who had come to Kenya to wage ‘jihad’ against non-believers.
It was last year that details of Lewthwaite’s secret new life emerged in grisly detail.
A white woman, later identified as Lewthwaite, had led a group of terrorists who fired grenades into a bar in Mombasa, the Kenyan coastal tourist resort popular with Britons.
Three people, including a child, were killed and more than 50 injured.
In truth, I was deeply sceptical when news was first leaked two years ago about the White Widow’s alleged role as a terrorist with the group now causing carnage in Nairobi.
Yet now, having spent time among her acolytes in the Islamic stronghold where she once lived near Mombasa, and in briefings with police, prosecutors and senior investigators during subsequent investigations in Nairobi, I have no doubt that Lewthwaite is a cold-blooded killer and a dangerous ideologue.
Senior officers in Kenya have told me they will kill her on sight. So far, however, she has avoided arrest by wearing all-concealing Islamic dress as she has flitted between Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Meanwhile, the group she is allied to continues to wreak havoc in the region.
Tragic: Annemarie Desloges, a Canadian diplomat seen here with her husband Robert Munk, was killed in the atrocity
Al Shabaab grew out of the chaos of Somalia, and has seen jihadists wage a brutal war to impose strict sharia law in the East African state.
But Kenyan forces, supported by Britain and America, have been waging war across the border in Somalia in an attempt to keep the Islamists from power.
With the war against Al Shabaab in Somalia proving highly effective, Kenya’s support has made it a key enemy of the Islamists.
Even before this weekend’s attack, the activities of Lewthwaite and her fellow terrorists had turned Kenya into a place of fear and paranoia.
Clearly, the White Widow has a taste for blood. It remains to be seen whether she will live long enough to kill again.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2429644/Terror-Kenya-led-white-widow-shocking-picture-shows-terrified-little-girl-fleeing-mall-massacre.html#ixzz2fj6llSEG
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