A Kenyan intelligence report and excerpts from the personal journal of a suspected terrorist known as the “White Widow,” reveal new details about the inner workings of the al Shabaab terror network, which masterminded last month’s deadly attack on a Nairobi mall.
Sky News obtained the 35-page report, which indicates that “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite is a central figure in al Shabaab, plotting several terror attacks across Kenya. The British Lewthwaite, 29, is called the “White Widow” because she was married to one of the suicide attackers responsible for the deadly bombings on a London subway and bus in 2005 that killed 52 people and injured 700 more.
The report also indicates the group was apparently planning multiple attacks targeting Kenyan parliament buildings, UN offices in Nairobi, restaurants and a series of assassinations focusing on senior politicians within Kenya.
The intelligence report provides a detailed breakdown of how the terror network operates throughout Africa, with recruits and cells working in a range of countries including Tanzania, Mali, South Africa, Somalia, Uganda, Burundi, and Zambia, as well as efforts in Pakistan and Yemen.
Al Shabaab’s stronghold and focus is in Kenya with major bases in the capital Nairobi, and Mombasa, the report suggests.
The report is damaging for Kenyan authorities because it suggests there were clear warnings up to eight months ago that a "Mumbai-style attack" was being planned in Nairobi on the Westgate shopping mall.
Lewthwaite is referred to as a "logistician" within a six-person terror cell, which the Kenyans believe was coordinated by Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, who is also known as Ikrima.
Ikrima is a Kenyan who the authorities believe has been promoted to al Shabaab leadership. He was the target of a recent U.S. Navy SEALs' mission to "capture or kill" him in the Somalian port town of Barawe. The operation was aborted when the SEALs encountered tougher resistance than expected and saw children in his compound.
Other members of the terror cell Ikrima was co-ordinating include Fahmi Jamal Salim-- apparently the cell leader-- who intelligence agencies believe is now married to the White Widow.
Kenyan intelligence believes Lewthwaite was living in an exclusive villa in Mombasa while plotting the attacks. When police raided her home, the mother-of-four was not there but police say they discovered a stash of ammunition and a laptop with a journal Lewthwaite had been writing.
A look at Lewthwaite’s personal diary sheds light on her love for her husband and how she’s raising her children, according to the Sky report. She writes about how two of her children want to emulate their father, London bomber Jermaine Lindsay.
Lewthwaite’s journal goes on to express her commitment to her Muslim faith and her gratitude for being married to a shaheed (martyr,) Lindsay.
The diary may have been notes for a book Lewthwaite was working on, entitled “I Want To Be A Mujahid,” (Islamic military fighter).