The Irish born terrorist believed to have been involved in the Kenyan shopping mall siege may be dead according to local police.
Reports from Nairobi say that ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite may have been shot dead by Kenyan military forces as they stormed the shopping center.
Born to a Northern Irish mother and soldier father from Britain, Lewthwaite reportedly spent her unremarkable early years in her home in the Whyte Acres estate in Banbridge, County Down, before moving to Britain.
Lewthwaite was wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned bomb attacks on the country's coast.
In March last year officials said that she had fled to Somalia, and that police were hunting a woman who used several identities, including hers.
Her husband, Lindsay (19), carried out the most deadly of the July 7 attacks, claiming 26 lives.
The Irish Independent reports that a statement from the Kenyan government has added to speculation that Lewthwaite was a key member of the gang behind the attack which killed at least 62 people.
The report says it is now thought that Lewthwaite was killed as Kenyan military forces attempted to end the three-day siege at a shopping center.
Local police have confirmed that a woman was among three suspects killed by Kenyan forces. Other reports are less definitive however. The New York Times reported eyewitness accounts saying two women were involved and both escaped.
Lewthwaite is already wanted in Kenya on terror charges.
A spokeswoman for the Kenyan government confirmed: “A woman who has carried out attacks many, many times before was among the terrorists.
“The terrorists included two or three Americans, and a British woman.”
The Irish Independent report says that Lewthwaite is believed to be travelling on a British passport.
Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said that ‘two or three Americans’ and ‘one Brit’ were among the militants in the attack.
She said the Americans were 18 to 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin and lived ‘in Minnesota and one other place’ in the United States.
She said the British jihadist was a woman who has ‘done this many times before’.
Muslim convert Lewthwaite has been dubbed the White Widow because of her marriage to Jermaine Lindsay, who blew up an underground train at King’s Cross in London in 2005, killing 26 people.
The report says he has been on the run in east Africa for two years after allegedly plotting to attack Western targets in Kenya.
Her father was a British soldier posted in the North during the Troubles, who married a local woman.
She converted to Islam in her teenage years and later married Lindsay. She then married another jihadist while on the run in Africa where she became a leader of the al-Shabaab terror grouping.