White widow terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite may have been behind an attack on a Kenyan police station carried out by an all-female team of jihadists, it has emerged.
Three women stormed into Mombasa’s main police headquarters on Sunday and launched a knife and firebomb attack before being shot dead.
It has now been claimed that British fugitive Lewthwaite, widow of London 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay and one of the world’s most wanted terror suspects, ‘had a hand’ in the terror attack.
According to Kenyan newspaper, The Star, laptops and emails belonging to the three women and found at their house indicated that they had been in touch with the 32-year-old.
A source told the paper: ‘A cyber crime unit will be finalising the contents soon. But primary findings indicate Lewthwaite could have a hand in this.
The laptops and other items were recovered at a house where the women lived.
Lewthwaite, a mother-of-four dubbed the world’s most wanted woman, fled her home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire soon after her husband played a part in the 7/7 atrocity in London in 2005.
She has since been linked to a series of shocking Al-Shabaab attacks and is understood to have masterminded the murders of 400 people.
They include the 2013 raid on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 67 and the massacre at Garissa University College in April last year in which 148 people were slaughtered.
Lewthwaite, who has used the alias Natalie Webb and is also known as Sherafiyah Lewthwaite, is thought to be employed in Al-Shabaab’s Intelligence Unit.
It’s believed that she commands a terrifying army of up to 200 female jihadis who she has trained to infiltrate governments, carry out suicide attacks, and call her ‘Mother of Holy War’.
She is also wanted by authorities in Kenya in connection with allegations of possessing explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony and is the subject of an Interpol ‘red notice’.
Despite her links to Al-Shabaab, Kenyan officers believe the three Mombasa attackers had pledged allegiance to ISIS on a handwritten note reportedly penned before the assault.
Kenya has faced a spate of Islamist militant attacks in recent years, usually claimed by the Somali group Al-Shabaab, but Sunday’s assault on a police station in the port city of Mombasa by the three women was claimed by ISIS.
ISIS has seized territory in Syria and Iraq, inspiring offshoot groups in the Middle East and Africa.
Experts say those accused of links to the group, but who live a long way from ISIS’s heartland, may only be sympathisers rather than have the group’s active backing.
‘We pledged allegiance to the caliph of the Muslims, the Amir of the Believers, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,’ according to the handwritten shown to Reuters by an officer, who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.
In the note, written on the lined page of an exercise book, the women called themselves Umm Maysarah, Umm Ma’bad and Umm Sa’ad, which the officers said was believed to be their aliases. The officer said the note was found in the house they stayed in.
‘Know that Islamic State soldiers are everywhere,’ the note said. ‘O filthy Kenyan government, don’t think we’ve forgotten how you mercilessly killed our brothers … We promise to make your women widows and your children orphans.’
Amaq news agency, affiliated to ISIS, said on Tuesday that ‘supporters’ of ISIS carried out the Mombasa attack, in which the three women, with their weapons concealed under flowing robes worn by some Muslims, tricked their way into the police station, stabbed an officer and threw a petrol bomb. Police also found an unexploded suicide vest.
This appeared to be the first claim of an attack by ISIS in Kenya, although police said in May they had detained people linked to the terror group.
Kenya’s authorities have been cracking down on people they accuse of promoting militant ideas or planning and carrying out attacks, particularly in the coastal region where many Kenyans live in the majority Christian African nation.
Muslim activists and rights groups have accused the government of heavy-handed tactics and say extra-judicial killings have spurred on radicals. The government denies any such killings and says it is simply fighting terrorism.
Kenyan security forces detained Haniya Said Saagar, a widow of a slain Muslim cleric, late on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the Mombasa attack, Evans Achoki, Mombasa county commissioner, told Reuters.
Saagar’s husband, Sheikh Aboud Rogo, was a fiery preacher who was killed by unknown gunmen in 2012. Supporters said police executed him, which officials denied.
Al Shabaab has said it targets Kenya for sending its troops into Somalia as part of an African force to battle the Islamist insurgents. It often says it will continue attacks until the Kenyan ‘crusaders’ leave.