Belfast Telegraph

CIA joins hunt for al-Qaida suspect Ulster mum

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

A Northern Ireland woman suspected of being part of an al-Qaida-linked terror unit has been warned she “cannot hide forever” by Kenya’s leading police officer.

American officials from the CIA are working with Kenyan authorities and the Metropolitan Police to trace Samantha Lewthwaite, who is wanted in connection with a bombing campaign in Kenya last Christmas.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ms Lewthwaite, who spent part of her childhood in the Whyte Acres estate in Banbridge, was married

to one of the 7/7 London bombers and is believed to have been part of a cell affiliated with Somali grouping al-Shabaab.

She has been on the run with her three children since anti-terrorist officers in Nairobi swooped on the gang which was planning to stage a series of attacks on the coastal resort of Mombassa last December.

Mathew Iteere, Kenya’s Commissioner of Police told The Times: “Unless you don’t travel or you don’t leave your home— even then someone will know where you are, but you cannot hide forever.”

Speaking yesterday, her father, a former British soldier who served in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, begged Ms Lewthwaite to “get in touch”.

Andy Lewthwaite (56) pleaded for his daughter to contact her family, and insisted she would not be embroiled in terrorism.

From his home in England he told The Sun newspaper: “I just wish she would get in touch.”

Mr Lewthwaite separated from Samantha’s Co Down-born mother in 1995.

Scotland Yard has confirmed it has sent a team of detectives to Kenya to assist authorities with a terror-related incident in recent months.

However, the Metropolitan Police have refused to discuss the extent of its involvement in the operation.

Ms Lewthwaite converted to Islam at the age of 17. She met 7/7 suicide bomber Jermaine Lind

say through an Islamic internet chatroom while studying religion and politics in London.

They were married after several months in 2002 and she was pregnant with their second son when Lindsay detonated a bomb at Kings Cross Tube station killing 26 people in July 2005.

A spokesman for the PSNI said if they were asked to help with the global investigation they would.


Samantha Lewthwaite (28) was born in December 1983. Her parents, a British soldier and Irish Catholic, lived in Banbridge in her early childhood before moving to England. Aged 11, she turned to Muslim neighbours when her parents split and converted to Islam at 17. She condemned the 7/7 London bombings.

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