The 21st Century Phenomenon


Anti-terror officers had been monitoring a British woman, believed to be Samantha  Lewthwaite, 28, wife of London 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay and her London born alleged accomplice Habib Saleh Ghani, suspecting them of plotting to attack western tourists in the coastal resort of Mombasa. Kenyan police said on Friday 03/02/2012.

But when another police team swooped on a third and unconnected British extremist, Jermaine John Grant, 29, from Newham, East London, who stayed in Kenya illegally and was living on the other side of the city – Samantha  Lewthwaite and Habib Saleh Ghani feared the net was closing and fled the country.

Jermain Grant was arrested on the night of 12/19/2011 while walking in the ghetto of Bakarani, a notorious stronghold of Islamic extremists in Mombasa. He was with his new wife, Warda Breik Islam. Searches of a nearby house uncovered stores of hydrogen peroxide, the basis for the explosives used by the 7/7 bombers, and wires and batteries used to detonate the improvised devices. Police believe that the ramshackle house was also the al-Shabab “bank” where fighters received payments from Samantha  Lewthwaite for operations. Police seized Samantha  Lewthwaite’s laptop in 2011 and showed she had made research into how to build bombs. She is suspected to be at the heart of several separate bomb plots in Kenya. 

Jermain Grant is currently (03/2012) awaiting trial accused of stockpiling chemicals in order to make a bomb. He appeared in court with three Kenyan co-accused, two men, Fouad Abubakar Manswab and Frank Ngala, and and his wife Warda Breik Islam. Three of the defendants were remanded in custody, while Warda Breik Islam was granted bail of $228,000 (£149,000). Kenyan authorities said Jermain Grant is linked to Somali militants al-Shabab. He was sentenced, on 02/20/2012, to three years in prison for using false documents that claimed he was a Canadian called Peter Joseph. Jermain Grant is still facing, along with his two co-defendants, bomb plot charges. Their trial is scheduled to 05/2012. But in their urgency to detain Jermain Grant the Kenyan police failed to keep an eye on the movements of Samantha  Lewthwaite and Habib Ghani.

A senior investigating officer in the Kenyan Police Force, who asked not to be named said: “Our anti-terrorism officers had been watching her, they were acting on intelligence I cannot say from where, since the beginning of December.”

Samantha  Lewthwaite, the daughter of a British soldier who grew up in the Home Counties, converted to Islam as a teenager, at the age of 17, called herself Sherafiyah, and was wearing the hijab. She married Germain Lindsay in 2002 and was pregnant with their second child in July 2005 when he blew himself up on the Piccadilly Line tube killing 26 people.

In 2009 Samantha  Lewthwaite gave birth to a third child, but has had no contact with her family since and is thought to have left the UK in 2011. She is believed to have arrived in Kenya on a false South African passport in the name of Natalie Faye Webb.

The family of Miss Webb, who lives in Essex, England, and has no connection with the alleged plot, but has dual British and South African nationality, said they have no idea how here identity came to be stolen

Samantha  Lewthwaite had allegedly been renting an apartment in a large detached house in an upmarket district of Mombasa, just a few hundred yards from a string of luxury hotels favoured by thousands of British and other western tourists each year (see also – 2003 Mombasa Trial).

Police fear she and Habib Saleh Ghani, who was renting room in a similar property around half a mile away, were planning to unleash a terror attack as the tourist season got underway.

But she was afforded so much warning by the Kenyan authorities that she was able to remove large amounts of potentially crucial evidence. All detectives found when they raided her apartment in January was a child’s cot and some documents which investigators are now examining for any potential leads. Samantha  Lewthwaite had flushed a number mobile phone SIM cards down the lavatory which were retrieved and are now being analysed by technical experts.

Habib Ghani, who has a Kenyan mother and Pakistani father, grew up in Hounslow, west London and worshipped at the same Hounslow Mosque as the first British suicide bomber Asif Mohammed Hanif, who blew himself up in a bar in Israel in 2003 (see – Mike’s Place). Habib Saleh Ghani is thought to have been “in relation” with Samantha  Lewthwaite.

When police searched his apartment they discovered ammunition for AK47 assault rifles as well as a number of detonators. Witnesses recalled how the Middle Eastern looking man, who spoke English and Swahili, was regularly visited at the property by a white woman wearing a traditional Muslim hijab.

Kenyan police sources said they believed the pair were not working on the same targets as Germain Grant, but have not ruled out that they were known to one another.

A spokesman for the Kenyan Government added: “We believe she [Samantha  Lewthwaite] is a collaborator with terrorists not a planner. Our understanding is that she was working with people here, Al Qaeda or al-Shabab people. She is a very big sympathiser with those people. She was not going to carry out an attack but she helped to fund raise, helped in the acquisition of weapons, hiding people, transporting people, that kind of thing.”

On Thursday 03/01/2012 night the South African authorities announced an investigation into how a South African passport came to be used. 


* Samantha  Lewthwaite was accused, on Wednesday 05/09/2012, in absentia, in Kenya, along with Jermaine John Grant, of being the main financier of a terror plot to kill hundreds of British tourists in Kenya. According to the indictment she planned to use a deadly cocktail of bombs to target tourists in Mombasa, a court in the Indian Ocean resort heard. Kenyan police believes their targets included the Serena Beach Hotel, popular with British tourists, and a nearby shopping centre. 


* Samantha  Lewthwaite distributed, in late 06/2012, a blog titled “ FEARS AND TEARS” the Confessions of a Female Muhajid”. Its emergence comes amid a worldwide search for Lewthwaite – dubbed the “White Widow” – as she is hunted over claims she took part in a grenade attack in Kenya which killed three football fans watching the Italy versus England Euro 2012 game in a bar, on 06/24/2012.Just three days before the blast Samantha  Lewthwaite posted a lengthy message on her blog admitting she had “no regrets” about converting to Islam and waging Jihad.

The extraordinary diary has appeared on the website of the Muslim Youth Center – the Kenyan arm of Islamic militant group al-Shabab. On the morning of the attack in Kenya a message was posted on the site saying: “BOOM!!! Mujahideen making music.” Hints about an attack were also posted on the MYC’s Twitter account, saying: “Tick tock there goes the count-down for the kuffar…” It appeared alongside an image of a woman Hamas fighter brandishing an assault rifle.


* The Mirror newspaper in UK reported, on 08/11/2013, that according to intelligence sources Samantha  Lewthwaite is feared to be at the centre of a major new Al Qaeda plot in Yemen, which led to the closure of the British embassy a week earlier. A crack team of SAS and ­specialist terror police searching for Lewthwaite, according to the paper.  


* The Interpol  has issued, on 09/26/2013, a so-called “red notice” to 190 countries to make them “aware of the danger posed by this woman” (Samantha  Lewthwaite). The move, which came at the request of the Kenyan authorities, added to the suspicions over whether she was involved in the Westgate Siege in Nairobi. 


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