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Homeland Security

Kenya Terror Suspect May be London Bomber's Widow

March 01, 2012

Gabe Joselow | Nairobi

Kenyan authorities are hunting a British woman suspected of supporting terrorists on two continents. The search is getting new attention after British media linked her to the 2005 London subway bombings.

British newspapers are reporting that Samantha Lewthwaite, 28, may be on the run in Kenya, under an assumed name.

Lewthwaite is the widow of London bomber Jermaine Lindsay, who killed 26 people on July 7, 2005 when he blew himself up on a subway train in a coordinated attack.

Kenyan police are circulating a passport photograph of a terror suspect bearing a strong resemblance to Lewthwaite.

The black and white photo shows a young, white woman with a broad face, her dark hair pulled tightly back, and a slight smile across her lips. But the name on the South African passport does not read Lewthwaite: it reads Natalie Faye Webb. There are suspicions that it could be a forgery.

Asked about the newspaper reports, Kenyan government spokesperson, Alfred Mutua, said he could not confirm that it is the same person.

"All we know is that the Kenyan government is seeking Natalie Faye for her involvement in terror," Mutua said. "We believe that she is an associate with people who really do not wish us very well or wish the international community very well. That's as far as we know. Her other linkages to other people, or histories, we are not aware of."

In January, a court in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa issued a warrant for Natalie Faye Webb, accusing her of having links with the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab.

Kenyan police say she may have entered Kenya from Tanzania, and that she is believed to be traveling with three children.

Aside from not knowing for certain her real name, Mutua says there is also a chance that the suspect may have slipped out of the country into Somalia, back to Tanzania or somewhere else altogether.

"Well we're still looking for her. We hope that the increased publicity will actually smoke her out from where she's hiding," added Mutua.

Police conducted a raid on a house where the suspect was believed to be staying in late December, but did not find her.

Another British terror suspect was arrested in Mombasa in December along with three Kenyans. Jermaine Grant was charged with possession of bomb-making materials, and planning to launch an attack in Kenya.

Two other British teenagers were arrested trying to cross from Kenya into Somalia in October last year.

Americans, who had suspected ties to al-Shabab, have also been caught.

In December, former U.S. army soldier Craig Baxom was arrested by Kenyan authorities and later arraigned in the United States on charges of trying to provide assistance for the al-Qaida linked group.



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