An international arrest notice has been issued for Samantha Lewthwaite, a British woman the Kenyan government is investigating in relation to the Nairobi shopping-mall attack who is also wanted in relation to explosives-related charges connected to a 2011 terror plot
. Interpol, the international police organization based in Lyon, France, on Thursday issued an "internationally wanted persons alert" for 29-year-old Ms. Lewthwaite, who is wanted by Kenyan authorities on charges dating back to December 2011 of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony.
The alert, called a red notice, is a tool Interpol uses to track international fugitives and is circulated to the organization's 190 member countries. "By requesting an Interpol Red Notice, Kenya has activated a global 'tripwire' for this fugitive," Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble said. Interpol added that Ms. Lewthwaite, who it said has used the alias Natalie Webb, is also wanted for the alleged possession of a fraudulently obtained South African passport.
The move came a day after Kenyan authorities confirmed they are investigating whether Ms. Lewthwaite, who has been referred to in the media as the "White Widow," played a role in the Nairobi attack that killed dozens of people.
British officials said it is too early to say whether there is any involvement of British citizens in the attack, either directly or in some supporting organizational role.
Ms. Lewthwaite is the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the four Suicide bombers behind the July 7, 2005, attack that killed 56 people and injured more than 700
. At the time, she denied knowledge of the attacks and condemned them.
Ms. Lewthwaite moved to East Africa around 2011 with her children, settling at some point in Kenya. Kenyan and British authorities said they believe she associated with extremists there and helped facilitate terrorist activity in operational roles. Kenyan authorities have been looking to question Ms. Lewthwaite in relation to an alleged bomb plot in Mombasa that police foiled in late 2011. Ms. Lewthwaite disappeared shortly after that and British authorities believe she may have been hiding in Kenya or Somalia.
Kenyan authorities are currently prosecuting a British man, Jermaine Grant, in relation to the foiled 2011 plot. They say he had links to al-Shabaab and worked with Ms. Lewthwaite. Mr. Grant faces explosives-related charges after being arrested in December 2011 in Mombasa with chemicals, batteries and switches—charges he denies.