Fate of 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite still unclear
The fate of an Ulster-born Islamic terrorist described as the world's most wanted woman remains unclear after claims she had been killed in battle were rubbished.
Reports that Banbridge-born 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite was killed in Ukraine were denied by the commander of the battalion she was said to be fighting with.
Ukranian officials also said the reports by a Moscow news agency were a "cynical lie" for propaganda purposes.
It had been claimed Lewthwaite was fighting for the Aidar battalion in Ukraine when she was gunned down by a Russian sniper. But battalion commander Serhiy Melnychuk said this was nonsense.
"Give it some time, and the Russians will start saying that Osama bin Laden himself is fighting in Aidar," he said.
"We don't have any white widows, and nor could we. They [the Russians] are trying to drive a wedge between us and our British allies," he said.
Unconfirmed reports of Lewthwaite's death were carried by Regnum news agency.
It suggested the 30-year-old was shot two weeks ago near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve. Most recent reports suggested Lewthwaite had joined Isis militants in Syria.
Roman Vybranovsky, a spokesman for Ukraine's national security council, said her presence in Ukraine was extremely unlikely.