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December 13, 2013

Mysterious 'white widow' eludes police in Africa

(Continued)

The widow's fraudulent passport sported her own photo in place of Webb's — a hapless U.K.-based nurse who had apparently been a victim of identity theft.

Lewthwaite was said to have fled to al-Shabab's base in Somalia after that close call.

Kenyan authorities issued an arrest warrant for Lewthwaite to answer bomb making charges, which had been kept secret for four months. The warrant said Lewthwaite possessed acetone, hydrogen peroxide, ammonium nitrate, sulphur and lead nitrate, as well as batteries, a switch and electrical wire — preparations similar to the ones used so effectively by the London subway bombers.

Though the bombings never took place, the myth of the white widow was born.

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Lewthwaite's second husband, like her first, was a British-born Muslim.

It is not clear whether she and Habib Ghani met in England and went to Africa together or if they met in Africa.

It is clear that Lewthwaite treasured him, in part, for his embrace of Islamic extremism, or so she wrote in handwritten pages uncovered by Kenyan police after the raid in which they let her slip through their grasp.

The writings constitute the rough outline of a book Lewthwaite planned to write — "a message of hope, encouragement and light" — about the life of a jihadi.

"Allah has blessed me with being married to a mujahid and meeting many wonderful inspiring people along the way," Lewthwaite wrote, praising her new husband for "terrorizing the disbelievers."

She described him as talking with her 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter — the children of her first marriage — about their goals in life and being heartened to learn that both children wanted to take up their parents' cause.

Her new husband taught the children that to be jihadis, they had to actually live their lives with that commitment guiding all their actions, Lewthwaite wrote.

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