In a surprising turn of events, 3 Britons have been named among the terrorists who attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi on Saturday, killing about 69 people, and leaving at least 175-including children-injured.
Even more shocking, is the fact that a British woman, identified as the fugitive ‘white widow’ of London 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay is said to have led the attack.
Soldiers said a white woman wearing a veil was shouting orders to gunmen in Arabic during the bloody massacre inside the Westgate shopping mall.
It will be recalled that Islamist terror group Al Shabaab claimed it carried out the atrocity, even tweeting live about the killings while the kept the mall under siege and kept hostages for 2 days.
It said last night on Twitter that Samantha Lewthwaite, the ‘white widow’ of London 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was ‘in their ranks’ and a ‘brave lady’.
Fifteen hostages were still trapped inside the shopping centre after more than 24 hours of carnage in which men, women and children were slaughtered if they could not recite the Koran or name the mother of the Prophet Mohammed.
As well as boasting Lewthwaite was with them, Al Shabaab claimed two British men from London, Liban Adam, 23, and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, were among the ‘holy warriors’ in the attack.
The group is said to be highly organised, with huge amounts of ammunition as well as night vision equipment. They have destroyed CCTV cameras inside the shopping mall, meaning they cannot be watched.
With horrific cruelty, they have reportedly cut the hands off the bodies of their victims and burned their faces to try to conceal their identities.
Writing on Twitter, the terrorists said: ‘Sherafiyah lewthwaite aka samantha is a vrave [brave] lady! were [we are] happier to have her in our ranks!’ Sherafiyah is the Muslim name now used by Lewthwaite.
Another tweet read: ‘our mujahideen are prepared to die for our cause!’
Last night the terrorists were closed into the second and third floors of a storage warehouse in the mall. Soldiers claimed to have taken control of the ground and first floors.
The siege of the Israeli-owned mall bears all the hallmarks of Muslim-convert Lewthwaite, 29, who is on the run in East Africa after Kenyan police foiled her plot to blow up a shopping centre and two hotels in Mombasa two years ago.
The Home Counties mother-of-four is now one of the main financiers and bomb-making tutors for Al Shabaab. A senior Kenyan terrorist official said last night: ‘I suspect this woman is behind this attack because she has been financing the activities of the Al-Qaeda cell in Mombasa.’
Last night British, US and Israeli security forces joined their Kenyan counterparts to try to regain control of the mall.
Most of the remaining hostages held by terrorists in a Nairobi mall were freed last night by Kenya’s military after a two-day standoff that killed 68 people.
The dramatic assault, which began shortly before sundown, came as two helicopters circled the Westgate mall, with one skimming very close to the roof.
There were unconfirmed reports that some hostages had been executed after the attempt by the military to launch an assault on the roof.
Daniel Howden, reporter for The Independent, told The BBC that a ‘massive operation’ was still ongoing inside the mall this morning where the gang continued to hold an unknown number of people hostage.