Inside the Mystery of World's 'Most Wanted Woman'

AP profile details what's known about the 'White Widow'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 9:00 AM CST
Inside the Mystery of World's 'Most Wanted Woman'
This undated file image provided by Interpol shows fugitive Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the "white widow."   (AP Photo/Interpol, File)

She's been called the "white widow," the most wanted woman in the world, yet she's eluded police for years, even while traveling Africa with four children in tow. In a profile of fugitive Samantha Lewthwaite, the AP explores the life of a white woman, born to a British soldier, who allegedly plotted terrorist attacks and praised Osama bin Laden. She converted to Islam as a teen, but first drew notice when her first husband blew himself up in the 2005 London bombings. Looking like a wronged wife and mother, she condemned the attack, but her status as the widow of a jihadist may have driven her to prove herself, a terrorism expert explains. A few years later, she was found in Africa radicalized, waging war against the West.

In early 2012, Kenyan police announced Lewthwaite had joined the al-Shabab terrorist network and had planned to bomb a coastal resort over Christmas. During a police raid that took place on Dec. 20, 2011, she fooled them with a bogus South African passport and escaped, though they did obtain some of her writings in which she expressed hope her children would follow in their parents' footsteps (her second husband is a British-born Muslim extremist). She's wanted by Interpol for her role in the foiled Christmas plot, and she's been tied to Nairobi's Westgate Mall attack as well—without evidence, the AP notes. For now, she remains a fugitive at large. "She walked around here like she was on top of the world," says a former neighbor in the small city she grew up in, northwest of London. "I hope they catch her. And I hope they kill her." Click for the full piece. (More jihadist stories.)

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