Samantha Lewthwaite

Samantha Lewthwaite, a.k.a. the “White Widow,” is an alleged member of al-Shabab and the former wife of 7/7 London terrorist bomber, Germaine Lindsay.“The White Widow: British woman whose husband bombed London now leads Somali terror group Al-Shabaab,” National Post, August 6, 2020, https://nationalpost.com/news/world/the-white-widow-british-woman-whose-husband-bombed-london-now-leads-somali-terror-group-al-shabaab. Lewthwaite has been implicated in a 2012 bombing at a bar in Mombasa, Kenya, as well as being associated with the 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall which killed over 71 people. Interpol and Kenyan authorities are currently pursuing Lewthwaite for alleged possession of explosives and conspiracy.“The White Widow: British woman whose husband bombed London now leads Somali terror group Al-Shabaab,” National Post, August 6, 2020, https://nationalpost.com/news/world/the-white-widow-british-woman-whose-husband-bombed-london-now-leads-somali-terror-group-al-shabaab.; Esther Addley and Afua Hirsch, “'White widow': Interpol arrest warrant issued for Samantha Lewthwaite,” Guardian, September 26, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/26/interpol-arrest-warrant-samantha-lewthwaite-white-widow.

According to sources, Lewthwaite was introduced to Islam when her parents divorced in 1994 as she sought comfort from Muslim neighbors who she considered to have a stronger family network. In 2001, when she was 17 years old, Lewthwaite converted to Islam, adopting the name Sherafiyah.Jon Rogers, Evelyn Richards, “MOST WANTED Who is the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite and where is she now?” The Sun, July 27, 2020, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8092858/white-widow-samantha-lewthwaite-wanted-terror-netflix/. In 2002, she met Germaine Lindsay at a Stop the War march in London and eventually married him. In September 2004, Lindsay and Lewthwaite met and became close with Mohammad Siddique Khan—the ringleader of the deadly 7/7 bombings—at a mosque in London. On July 7, 2005, Lindsay and three other British men detonated homemade bombs on a London Underground train, killing themselves as well as 26 others.Dominic Casciani, “Kenya terrorism police probe link to 7/7 bomber widow,” BBC News, February 29, 2012, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-17209899. Although denying association with the 7/7 bombing and claiming her late husband’s mind was poisoned after attending radical mosques, Lewthwaite later fled town with her children.“Profile: Samantha Lewthwaite,” BBC News, September 26, 2013, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-24204517.

It is alleged that Lewthwaite moved to Kenya in either 2007 or 2011 under a fraudulent passport by the name of Natalie Faye Webb, and shortly after began to work closely with extremist groups in eastern Africa.“Samantha Lewthwaite, Britain’s ‘White Widow’ suspected in Kenya carnage,” Al Arabiya, September 24, 2013, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2013/09/24/Is-Britain-s-White-Widow-behind-Kenyan-mall-attacks-.html.; Lauren Morris, “Who is Samantha Lewthwaite? The terror suspect featured in Netflix’s World’s Most Wanted,” Radio Times, August 5, 2020, https://www.radiotimes.com/news/on-demand/2020-08-05/worlds-most-wanted-fugitives-samantha-lewthwaite-where-now-netflix-documentary/. According to experts, Lewthwaite was originally shielded by an al-Qaeda unit called the “suicide squad,” but later took on a key role in al-Shabab to plan and carry out attacks.“The White Widow: British woman whose husband bombed London now leads Somali terror group Al-Shabaab,” National Post, August 6, 2020, https://nationalpost.com/news/world/the-white-widow-british-woman-whose-husband-bombed-london-now-leads-somali-terror-group-al-shabaab.

In December 2011, Kenyan police raided Lewthwaite’s apartment in Mombasa, Kenya, and found chemicals similar to those used in the 7/7 bombings. Lewthwaite was not in the apartment during the time of the raid, but Kenyan police arrested British citizen Jermaine Grant who claimed to be working for Lewthwaite.David Clark Scott, “Samantha Lewthwaite: Is 'White Widow' behind Kenya mall attack?,” Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 2013, https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/terrorism-security/2013/0923/Samantha-Lewthwaite-Is-White-Widow-behind-Kenya-mall-attack. Kenyan authorities allege the two were planning a bomb attack in Mombasa.Ewan Palmer, “White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite \'Marries al-Shabaab Terror Chief,” International Business Times, May 27, 2014, https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/white-widow-samantha-lewthwaite-marries-al-shabaab-terror-chief-1450117. On January 4, 2012, Kenyan authorities issued an arrest warrant for Lewthwaite, but they were unable to locate her.Jon Rogers, Evelyn Richards, “MOST WANTED Who is the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite and where is she now?” The Sun, July 27, 2020, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8092858/white-widow-samantha-lewthwaite-wanted-terror-netflix/. In March 2012, it was reported that Lewthwaite fled over the border from Kenya to Somalia.Ewan Palmer, “White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite \'Marries al-Shabaab Terror Chief,” International Business Times, May 27, 2014, https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/white-widow-samantha-lewthwaite-marries-al-shabaab-terror-chief-1450117.

Kenyan authorities allege that Lewthwaite was involved in a grenade attack at the Jericho bar in Mombasa on June 24, 2012. Al-Shabab militants targeted the bar as it was filled with tourists watching the Euro 2012 football match between England and Italy. The attack killed three.Rebecca Evans, “Sinister web diary 'of British 7/7 bomb widow': Jihad is an obligation we must accept, says blog,” Daily Mail, July 1, 2012, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2167442/Sinister-web-diary-British-7-7-bomb-widow-Jihad-obligation-accept-says-blog.html. Lewthwaite was also implicated in the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping center which took place on September 21, 2013, where al-Shabab militants stormed the center with grenades and indiscriminately fired at shoppers. The attack killed at least 71 and injured over 200 others.Daniel Howden, “Terror in Nairobi: the full story behind al-Shabaab's mall attack,” Guardian, October 4, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/westgate-mall-attacks-kenya.; Jon Rogers, Evelyn Richards, “MOST WANTED Who is the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite and where is she now?” The Sun, July 27, 2020, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8092858/white-widow-samantha-lewthwaite-wanted-terror-netflix/.

On September 26, 2013, Interpol issued a red notice for Lewthwaite on charges of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011.Esther Addley and Afua Hirsch, “'White widow': Interpol arrest warrant issued for Samantha Lewthwaite,” Guardian, September 26, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/26/interpol-arrest-warrant-samantha-lewthwaite-white-widow. In May 2014, British intelligence sources claimed Lewthwaite married Hassan Maalim Ibrahim, a.k.a. Sheikh Hassan, a senior leader of al-Shabab in Somalia.Russell Myers and Stewart Whittingham, “White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite marries ruthless terror chief on the run in lawless Somalia,” Daily Mirror, May 26, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/white-widow-samantha-lewthwaite-marries-3611431. Lewthwaite’s whereabouts are still unknown, although it is suspected that she is being protected by al-Shabab operatives on the Somalia-Kenya border.“The White Widow: British woman whose husband bombed London now leads Somali terror group Al-Shabaab,” National Post, August 6, 2020, https://nationalpost.com/news/world/the-white-widow-british-woman-whose-husband-bombed-london-now-leads-somali-terror-group-al-shabaab.

Interpol

Interpol issues a red notice for Samantha Lewthwaite on September 26, 2013, on charges of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony.Esther Addley and Afua Hirsch, “'White widow': Interpol arrest warrant issued for Samantha Lewthwaite,” Guardian, September 26, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/26/interpol-arrest-warrant-samantha-lewthwaite-white-widow.

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