Interpol has issued a red notice for so-called “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite, the British-born Muslim convert charged by Kenyan authorities in 2011 with possessing explosives who may have also been involved in the Westgate Shopping Mall terror attack over the weekend.
The 29-year-old Lewthwaite, who is also believed to be using the alias “Natalie Webb,” is the subject of an internationally wanted persons alert by Interpol after a red notice was requested by the Kenyan government.
Lewthwaite is also known as the “White Widow” because her husband, Germaine Lindsay, was one of the suicide bombers who targeted London’s transportation system in July 2005. The red notice urges police around the world to put the 29-year-old under provisional arrest if she is found. It also raises awareness among the public that Lewthwaite is a wanted woman.
“By requesting an INTERPOL Red Notice, Kenya has activated a global ‘tripwire’ for this fugitive,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a statement. “Through the INTERPOL Red Notice, Kenyan authorities have ensured that all 190 member countries are aware of the danger posed by this woman, not just across the region but also worldwide.”
Lewthwaite was charged in Kenya with possession of explosive devices and conspiracy to commit a felony in 2011. Authorities found bomb-making materials at her home in Kenya that were similar to the devices used on London buses in 2005 that killed 52 people and injured hundreds more. At the time of the terror attack, Lewthwaite denied knowing of her husband and the other suicide bombers’ plans.
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The red notice comes just days after Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall came under attack by armed terrorists. Authorities said a woman was involved in the attack, but whether Lewthwaite took part in the incident has not been confirmed.
Noble said Lewthwaite’s case demonstrates the “invisible threat” posed by terrorists and criminals with illegal passports. The 29-year-old Muslim convert and Buckinghamshire, England, native was accused in Kenya of fraudulently obtaining a South African passport.
“Every year hundreds of millions of individuals are boarding international transport and crossing borders without having the authenticity of their travel or identity document checked. This dramatically compromises our ability to effectively screen and identify at airports and land crossings those individuals who could be suspected criminals and terrorists,” the secretary said.