REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- Kenyan police are hunting for the British widow of one of the 2005 London Underground suicide bombers, whom they suspect of involvement in a terror plan to blow up luxury hotels or restaurants in the East African nation, according to the Associated Press and major London newspapers.
The woman is also suspected of helping to finance terrorist groups, including Al Shabab, the Somalia militia linked to Al Qaeda, the news reports said.
The AP, quoting an unnamed top Kenyan police official, said that fingerprint evidence indicated that Samantha Lewthwaite, 28, stayed for several weeks last year in an upscale Mombasa house alleged to be linked to a terror cell. She fled last December after being briefly interviewed -- but not arrested -- by Kenyan police. She reportedly convinced them she was a tourist.
Lewthwaite, allegedly traveling on a fake passport, is the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, a suicide bomber who killed 26 people on a Piccadilly line train in London in 2005, one of four simultaneous suicide bombings.
Police said they found a forged South African passport at the Mombasa house bearing Lewthwaite's picture but in the name of a British nurse who is said to be the victim of identity theft.
The AP, citing the senior Kenyan police official, said Lewthwaite was believed to have fled Kenya for Somalia and that she formerly had connections with a top East Africa Al Qaeda operative, Musa Hussein Abdi, and visited his widow in Mombasa. Abdi was shot dead in Somalia last year with an Al Qaeda leader in East Africa, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed.
Mombasa was the site of two terror attacks in 2002, when extremists fired a missile at an Israeli airliner and detonated a car bomb an an Israeli hotel. The attacks damaged Kenya's tourist industry for several years.
Lewthwaite, the daughter of a British soldier who served in Northern Ireland, converted to Islam in her teens and later married Lindsay, according to the Times of London and other British newspapers. She declared in a British newspaper interview after the 2005 attacks that she found them abhorrent.
-- Robyn Dixon