[The Mail On Line] The terror attack on a Kenyan shopping centre that has left 68 dead was being led by the white English widow of a 7/7 bomber, it was claimed last night.
Soldiers said a white woman wearing a veil was shouting orders to gunmen in Arabic during the bloody massacre inside the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
Islamist terror group Al Shabaab claimed it carried out the atrocity in which three Britons were killed and 175 people were left injured.
It said last night on Twitter that Samantha Lewthwaite, the ‘white widow’ of London 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was ‘in their ranks’ and a ‘brave lady’.
Fifteen hostages were still trapped inside the shopping centre after more than 24 hours of carnage.
The attack saw men, women and children slaughtered if they could not recite the Koran or name the mother of the Prophet Mohammed.
As well as boasting Lewthwaite was with them, Al Shabaab claimed two British men from London, Liban Adam, 23, and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, were among the ‘holy warriors’ in the attack.
The group is said to be highly organised, with huge amounts of ammunition as well as night vision equipment.
Writing on Twitter, the terrorists said: ‘Sherafiyah lewthwaite aka samantha is a vrave [brave] lady! were [we are] happier to have her in our ranks!’
Sherafiyah is the Muslim name now used by Lewthwaite.
Another tweet read: ‘our mujahideen are prepared to die for our cause!’
Last night the terrorists were closed into the second and third floors of a storage warehouse in the mall.
Soldiers claimed to have taken control of the ground and first floors.
One said: ‘It is all being controlled by this muzungu [Swahili for white] woman. She is ordering them what to do. We are getting closer to them.’
The massacre began on Saturday shortly before midday local time.
Witnesses told how terrorists, their faces hidden with Islamic scarves, stormed the shopping mall and started tossing grenades and spraying shoppers with AK-47s.
The gunmen ordered all Muslims to leave before carrying out rudimentary tests to see if hostages could recite the Koran and name the mother of the Prophet Mohammed.
Terrified shoppers fled and hid in storerooms, restaurants and a cinema, with the wounded being carried out in shopping trolleys.
Shoppers who were able to prove they were Muslim were among the 1,000 who escaped unharmed, while those who failed were shot for being ‘kafir’, a derogatory term for non-Muslims.
One man, who hid in a box of cartons, said: ‘If they had found me... I’m white and so I’m dead. They hate your skin colour.’
Those killed so far vary in age from two to 78.
A spokesman for Al Shabaab, the East African arm of Al-Qaeda, said all Britons in Kenya are ‘legitimate’ targets because the UK has supported the African country’s military intervention in neighbouring Somalia.
The Twitter account purporting to belong to the terrorist organisation also said ‘there would be no negotiations whatsoever’.
The siege of the Israeli-owned mall bears all the hallmarks of Muslim-convert Lewthwaite, 29, who is on the run in East Africa after Kenyan police foiled her plot to blow up a shopping centre and two hotels in Mombasa two years ago.
The Home Counties mother-of-four is now one of the main financiers and bomb-making tutors for Al Shabaab.
Some claimed hostages were ‘shot and thrown out of the window’ of the building’s fourth floor.
Other attackers identified on the Twitter account were from Finland, Kenya, Somalia, Canada and America.
Last night, Al Shabaab spokesman Mukhtaar Robow told Channel 4: ‘The English know Somalis will not give up the fight.’
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