Samantha Lewthwaite, the “White Widow” of one of the London July 7 bombers, later married into a Kenyan family connected to one of al-Qaeda’s most notorious commanders in East Africa, the Telegraph can reveal.
The Telegraph Online
Her sister-in-law’s husband was Musa Dheere, who was shot dead at a roadblock in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, alongside Fazul Mohammed, mastermind of terror attacks on Kenya’s coast in 2002 that were among al-Qaeda’s earliest raids.
Lewthwaite, who is charged with plotting a bombing campaign across Kenya at Christmas 2011, was so close to her new family that she fled to their house the night Kenyan police broke up her terror cell.
Her husband was a Kenyan named Fahmi Jamal Salim, with whom she is thought to have the two youngest of her four children. Salim’s sister is Nassim divorced Mr Dheere a year before his death.
Lewthwaite met her future husband in South Africa in 2008, where they were introduced to each other by Abdullah al-Faisal, a radical Muslim hate preacher who had previously been imprisoned for four years at Long Lartin prison on Worcestershire.
Lewthwaite had previously visited him while he was still in jail, despite the authorities apparently being aware of their respective backgrounds.
Mr al-Faisal told a BBC Panorama documentary about Lewthwaite, due to air on Wednesday, that he arranged her marriage to the Kenyan because he “knew her taste”.
She wanted a “young man of a different race, preferably the black race, who was very handsome and very strong in the Muslim faith”, Mr al-Faisal told the BBC.
The couple are believed to have lived in South Africa at last until early 2008, where Salim ran a medical supply business in the Brixton area of Johannesburg. Lewthwaite occasionally used it as her postal address.
Both Lewthwaite and Salim travelled to Kenya on faked South African passports during 2011, hers in the name Natalie Faye Webb and his believed to be in the name Mark or Marc Costa.
Kenya’s National Intelligence Service named both of them as members of a terror cell that planned to bomb the parliament in Nairobi, the United Nations headquarters in the city, and an Ethiopian restaurant popular with Somali politicians.
Hotels near their bomb factory popular with Western tourists were also understood to be targets.
Lewthwaite was the cell’s “logistician”, detectives said. Another of the cell’s alleged members is Jermaine Grant, from east London, who is on trial in Kenya over the plots.
The cell’s leader was Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir “Ikrima”, a Kenyan al-Qaeda commander who was the target of a US Navy Seal Team Six raid on Somalia in 2013, less than a month after the terror attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Centre.
Lewthwaite and Salim escaped as police closed in on them on December 19, 2011, after Grant is believed to have sent them both a text message saying, “The lions are inside”.
She is believed to be in hiding in southern Somalia, where she is being sheltered in territory controlled by al-Shabaab, the country’s al-Qaeda affiliate. Salim’s whereabouts are not known.