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14 Quick facts about the ‘White Widow’

May 18th, 2015 2 min read

1. She was born in Britain on December 5 1983 as Samantha Louise to parents Andrew and Elizabeth Christine Lewthwaite.

2. Her father is a former British Army soldier who met her mother while he was stationed in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

3. Her radicalisation began when her parents separated in 1994 with friends later saying she “sought solace from Muslim neighbours who she believed had a stronger family network”.

4. Lewthwaite converted to Islam at 17 and adopted the name Sherafiyah.

5. In October 2002, she married Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on the 7/7/2005 in London killing 26 people. The two used the Islamic names Asmantara and Jamal.

6. At the time of the London bombing, Lewthwaite was eight months pregnant with their second child, a daughter; their first child, a son, was 14 months old. Hours later, she denounced the attack saying she would not support such acts.

7. In September 2005, UK’s tabloid The Sun newspaper bought an exclusive story from Lewthwaite in which she came out as a victim. She claimed her husband was a “relatively recent convert who had been tricked into his actions by extremists”.

8. In 2009, she gave birth to a third child but the father was not named on the birth certificate.

9. In December 2011, Kenya’s anti-terror police unit raided a bomb-making factory near, where they found her belongings including notes and emails linking her to terrorist groups. She is now a fugitive from justice in Kenya. Wanted on charges of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony and is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice requesting her arrest with a view to extradition.

10. Spy agencies now say she is a senior member of the Al Shabaab, having risen rapidly after most of the group’s leaders were killed in KDF airstrikes and American drone attacks.

11. Her wicked record includes the grenade attack on people watching football in a bar in Mombasa during Euro 2012, the September 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack and Garissa University College attack in April this year.

12. She uses several aliases and multinational passports including Natalie Webb on a South African passport.

13. In November 2014, the Russian news agency REGNUM sensationally claimed that Lewthwaite had been killed by a Russian sniper in Ukraine, while fighting alongside a British-affiliated battalion. Later, the commander of the battalion rejected the reports as false.

14. Some media reports have questioned her existence at all and if she actually is a jihadi as is widely reported.