Friday, September 27, 2013

Suspected terrorist's grandmother collapses in shock

Suspected terrorist's grandmother collapses in shock

Updated Wednesday, September 25 2013 at 12:51 GMT+3
She converted to Islam at the age of seventeen. Photo:Courtesy
Adapted from the Daily Mail
'White widow' Islamist Samantha Lewthwaite was just an average British girl who was 'empty in confidence', a councillor who knew her as a youngster has said.
But today suspicion is mounting that she was the ringleader behind a bloody massacre in a Kenyan shopping centre in which more than 60 unarmed victims have been slain.
And it has emerged that her frail 85-year-old grandmother has been admitted to hospital because of the stress of her granddaughter's notoriety.
Elizabeth Allen, from Banbridge, Co Down, was given a panic alarm to contact security services in case terror suspect Lewthwaite ever made contact.
Family friends say the pressure of the situation and Lewthwaite's now-global notoriety have taken their toll on the frail pensioner's health and mental well-being.
Joan Baird, a veteran Ulster Unionist councillor in Banbridge who knows the family, said: 'This is so distressing for everyone. Mrs Allen is 85 and she is in and out of hospital. It is just so distressing.
'Certainly, everybody in the town is shocked and distressed by the news.'

Lewthwaite from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, who converted to Islam age 17, was married to Jermaine Lindsay before he blew himself up in the July 7 terror attacks in London in 2005, killing 26.
The 29-year-old mother of three is already wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country’s coast.

Now it is suspected that she was the mastermind behind the four-day gun and bomb attack on Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi, which has led to a continuing siege in which more than 60 people have lost their lives.
Born to English soldier Andy Lewthwaite - who met and married Irish Catholic Christine Allen while serving in Northern Ireland during the 1970s - she enjoyed an unremarkable childhood on Banbridge's Whyte Acres estate.
Lewthwaite was still at primary school when her family moved to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. In 1995 her parents split.
Councillor Raj Khan, whose family knew Lewthwaite’s family socially in Aylesbury, said he is surprised at speculation she is involved in the attack in Kenya due to how he remembers her.
She was an average, British, young, ordinary girl. She had a very great personality. She didn’t have very good confidence,' he said.

After becoming a Muslim, Lewthwaite changed her name to Sherafiyah and married suicide bomber Lindsay, who she had met on an Islamic internet chatroom.
Mr Khan recalled a meeting with Lewthwaite and Lindsay regarding a housing issue which took place three or four weeks before the July 7 bombings, and he said she was just as he remembered her.
'Certainly when I was around her, she was the same person, lacking in confidence.
'She was not strong-headed. And that’s why I find it absolutely amazing that she is supposed to be the head of an international criminal terrorist organisation,' he said.
Mr Khan said he was 'perplexed' that someone he knew, who was so 'empty in confidence', was being linked to international terrorism.
He said he prays that she is not involved, adding: '...and of course my worry is that if she in involved, is she under some kind of duress? Is there other factors involved?
'Or indeed, is it Samantha? I mean there are so many questions to be answered at the moment before one can make a view.'
Mr Khan said her family will be 'very upset' if she is involved.

'Of course like anyone else, they will be very hurt, very upset, very, very upset, but I think they too will be waiting for proof, not speculation,' he said.
Suspicion that Lewthwaite was in the attack in Nairobi were raised after the Kenyan foreign minister claimed that a British woman who has has allegedly been involved in terrorism 'many times before' was among the militants.
Amina Mohamed said the woman acted alongside 'two or three' Americans as security forces began a fourth day of fighting at the shopping centre where at least six Britons are known to have died.
After her husband Lindsay detonated his suicide bomb at on a Piccadilly line tube train between King's Cross and Russell Square stations in 2005, Lewthwaite had told how she was horrified by the massacre.
But the Jamaican-born Muslim convert, who grew up in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, had never made a secret of his extremist views, alarming teachers by attempting to radicalise younger pupils.
In 2009 Lewthwaite disappeared with her three children but resurfaced two years later after travelling to Kenya on a false passport.
The Kenyan authorities issued a photograph of a white woman in a veil who they said was wanted for questioning about a bomb factory in the coastal resort of Mombasa. The woman was Lewthwaite.
It is understood she has had little contact with relatives in Northern Ireland since her conversion to Islam.

Mr Khan said he does not think the speculation surrounding Lewthwaite will cause divisions in Aylesbury due to the community’s maturity.
'Of course if it is Samantha indeed, of course they’ll be very hurt, very upset, as indeed any human being would be, but in terms of causing any differences in our community I think the community is far more mature for that kind of thing,' he said.
Stuart Osborne, who was until recently the Met's Head of Counter Terrorism Command, told ITV News that any role Lewthwaite has with Islamist militant group al-Shabaab is unclear.
He said: ‘Lewthwaite has obviously been involved in terrorism or connected with terrorists for some considerable time now. Her role in al-Shabaab is very unclear or even if she has a role within (it).
‘She is currently wanted by the Kenyan authorities in relation to an investigation for those who have committed acts of terrorism. But as yet she is untried and unconvicted for those offences.
‘Traditionally she would be seen to be somebody as a sympathiser, a facilitator or an instigator of terrorism.
‘She has certainly got a large media profile, certainly in the British media press in relation to her activities and her involvement in terrorist activities is still yet to be proven, but as I said she is still wanted for terrorism

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wanted woman killed in Westgate attack, say UK papers

Samantha Lewthwaite alias Natalie Faye Webb. Photo | FILE

In Summary

  • Claims that Lewthwaite was involved in the attack began on Sunday when a number of British papers told of video footage of the attack on a social networking website which appeared to show a balaclava-clad white woman holding a gun.

By PAUL REDFERNMore by this Author
British newspapers are claiming that a white woman killed in the security forces seizure of the Westlands mall maybe Samantha Lewthwaite — also known as the ‘‘white widow’’ — and she may have led the terrorist attack on the shopping mall in Westlands.
A number of respected UK papers including the Daily Telegraph, Guardian and The Times ran with the story Tuesday with the Telegraph saying that British Intelligence officers “are trying to establish whether a white woman reported to be among three dead hostage-takers in Nairobi is the British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite.”
The paper also quoted a Kenyan intelligence officer and two soldiers who each claimed that one of the Al-Shabaab terrorists killed by the security forces in the Westgate shopping mall was a white female, contradicting official sources who insisted all the attackers were men. A shop owner also claimed that a white woman pointed a gun at one of her assistants.
Claims that Lewthwaite was involved in the attack began on Sunday when a number of British papers told of video footage of the attack on a social networking website which appeared to show a balaclava-clad white woman holding a gun.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, played down the claims in a BBC interview and the UK’s Foreign Office says it has no evidence and is unwilling to speculate.
Asked about reports that Britons may have been involved in planning the attack, Mr Hammond replied: “I’ve seen those reports but there’s no evidence to support those claims.”
However, The Telegraph says sources within the FCO and British spy agencies have said they cannot rule out the possibility that Lewthwaite, the widow of the July 7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, was involved.
A senior Whitehall source told The Telegraph it was “likely” that a woman of non-African, and possibly Caucasian, descent will prove to have been among the killers.
A Kenya Police source is also quoted as saying “there is a strong possibility that Lewthwaite, could be one of the terrorists.”

'White Widow' rented property in South Africa

AFP – Wed, Sep 25, 2013
A copy of the fake South African travelling passport of Samantha Lewthwaite in this handout photo released by the Kenyan police in December 2011. A British security source said on Tuesday it was a possibility that the widow of a suicide bomber who attacked London in 2005 was involved in the siege of a Nairobi shopping mall where Islamist fighters killed at least 62 people. When asked about reports that Lewthwaite, dubbed the "white widow" by the British media, was directly involved in the attack in Kenya, the source said: "It is a possibility. But nothing definitive or
View Photo
A copy of the fake South African …
Johannesburg (AFP) - A British woman thought to be linked to the Nairobi mall attacks used an assumed South African identity to take out bank loans and rent property in Johannesburg, local media reported Wednesday.
Samantha Lewthwaite -- wanted by Kenyan police for alleged involvement in a separate terror plot -- used the known alias Natalie Faye Webb to rent at least three properties and run up debts of $8,600 (6,400 euros), according to the eNews Channel Africa (eNCA).
The 29-year-old Muslim convert -- nicknamed the "White Widow" because her husband was among the 2005 London suicide bombers -- signed rental leases around Johannesburg, but it was unclear whether she lived at any of the premises.
According to credit records released by eNCA, she was listed as living in the city's predominantly South Asian neighbourhood of Mayfair for four years.
Kenya's foreign minister has said a British woman was among the Islamist attackers who shot dead dozens of people at a Nairobi shopping mall from Saturday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta later said the reports could not be confirmed.
But Kenyan authorities issued a wanted notice for Lewthwaite after she entered the country from Tanzania's northeastern Lunga and Namanga border posts in February and August 2011 using a South African passport in the name of Webb.
Two months later South African clothing stores signalled debt defaults worth almost $2,700.
In August 2012 a Johannesburg court issued an order against her for defaulting on $2,800 debt with South Africa's First Rand Bank.
Lewthwaite was married to Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network in July 2005, killing 52 people.
A local terror expert and academic said earlier this week that she regularly travels to South Africa and stayed in South Asian suburbs of Johannesburg earlier this year.
However residents either denied Lewthwaite had lived at the cited addresses or could not remember having seen her.
Close to a bustling street with shops where women dressed in headscarves walked with their children, the structure of a new building now stands in the yard where two houses were demolished over a year ago.
"I have not seen her here before," said a neighbour who has lived across the road for seven years, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A man who identified himself only as Junaid, and said he was redeveloping the property -- bought from a 65-year-old owner two years ago -- denied an English woman had lived there.
On the other side of the city in the leafy suburb of Bromhof, neighbours who have lived since 2008 across the road from the house Lewthwaite was said to have rented, also could not recall her living there.

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