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Al Shabaab's White Widow in Kenya

Updated on September 23, 2013
The white widow
The white widow
The White Widow family
The White Widow family

She is identified as Samantha Lewthwaite, a Muslim convert and daughter of a British military officer. From all accounts she was a normal teen growing up in a normal British family. That is, until she married the al-Qaeda suicide bomber, Jermaine Lindsay. She converted to Islam and on July 7, 2005, Jermain blew himself up and others in the London transport subway. On that day, he killed 26 others.

Kenyan officials have indicated that the White Widow was known to have been training other women in Somalia for terror attacks and may have been the planner of the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya. Lewthwaite is one of Al Qaeda’s main recruiters in East Africa and is an official spokesman for Al Shabaab (The People). She moved to Kenya in 2007 with her three children. One of her first attacks in Kenya was at a British bar in Mombasa, where she led a group in the attack and killed several while injuring 50 others. In her current attack of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, 68 have been killed and 175 wounded.

Survivors of the mall attack indicate that those who could prove to be Muslim and believers, were allowed to exit, while those who could not were tortured or killed with their heads and hands cut off by the Window's followers. Kenyan police have orders to shoot to kill her if spotted, however, she has proven to be clever using the Burqa to conceal her identity and face in public.

Despite her normal upbringing, she turned against the West as a young adult and has cut off all contact with her family in Alylesbury, Buckinghamshire, a nice quaint town.


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