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At Kenya's request, Interpol issues alert for British 'White Widow'

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- At the request of Kenyan authorities, the international police agency Interpol on Thursday issued a "red notice" for the arrest of Samantha Lewthwaite, a British national who has been dubbed the "White Widow."

The request came after Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said a British woman with a record of involvement in terrorism is believed to have been among the militants who attacked a Nairobi shopping mall Saturday, leading to a four-day siege of the facility.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also said that intelligence suggested the involvement of a British woman in the deadly siege, for which the Somali militant group Shabab claimed responsibility. However, he added that there was no confirmation of such reports.

A statement issued by Interpol did not mention the mall attack. It said Lewthwaite, 29, is wanted on charges of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to 2011.

Lewthwaite is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who attacked three London subway cars and a bus in July 2005, killing themselves and 52 others. She narrowly evaded arrest in Mombasa, Kenya, in December 2011. At the time, she was traveling on a South African passport.

South African authorities said Thursday that a passport issued to Lewthwaite under the name Natalie Faye Webb was canceled two years ago. The country's home affairs minister, Naledi Pandor, said the document was obtained fraudulently, using a stolen identity.

South Africa's Eyewitness News reported that Lewthwaite accumulated thousands of dollars in debt under the fake identity.

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Twitter: @latimesdixon

robyn.dixon@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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