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Mall Briton 'experienced in terror'
A British woman who has allegedly been involved in terrorism "many times before" was among the militants who laid siege to a Kenyan mall, the country's foreign minister has claimed.
Amina Mohamed said the woman acted alongside "two or three" Americans as security forces began a fourth day of fighting at the shopping centre where at least six Britons are known to have died.
The claim has fuelled speculation that British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, who was married to the July 7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was involved in the atrocity which has claimed more than 60 lives. However there was confusion over Ms Mohamed's comments - made while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York - with no confirmation either from the authorities in Nairobi or the Foreign Office in London.
They directly contradict the Kenyan interior minister Joseph Ole Lenku who told a news conference on Monday that all the attackers were male - although he suggested that some may have been dressed as women. The Foreign Office said only that it was aware of the foreign minister's comments.
Lewthwaite, dubbed the "White Widow", is known to be in East Africa and is wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country's coast. In March last year officials said she had fled to Somalia and that officers were hunting a woman who used several identities, including hers. In an interview with the PBS NewsHour programme, Ms Mohamed said: "From the information that we have, two or three Americans (were involved) and I think, so far, I have heard of one Brit... a woman ... and I think she has done this many times before."
Despite claims by the Kenyan authorities that their troops were conducting final "mop up operations" in the Westgate shopping mall, the Somali terrorist group which carried out the attack said it was still holding hostages in the sprawling complex. The Twitter messages posted by al-Shabab, which has links to al Qaida, said its fighters were "still holding their ground" and that the hostages were "still alive, looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive."
Ms Mohamed said countries fighting these terrorists must "up their game" in the wake of the massacre, adding: "I think this new attack tells us that we did not do enough." The foreign minister's call to arms came as horror stories began to emerge following the carnage at the upmarket mall, popular with foreigners and well-off Kenyans.
Louis Bawa, the father of eight-year-old Jennah, told of the "heart stopping" moment he learned his British daughter and Kenyan-born wife Zahira had died at the hands of "animals" who used "religion as an excuse to kill people". Mr Bawa, chief executive of a marketing company, told The Daily Telegraph: "The last time I spoke to them was on Friday evening, I didn't get a chance to catch up with them on Saturday morning. They were going to Westgate to do what they always did, grocery shopping. This time they didn't come home."
He added: "At first I was convinced that they would be OK. I had hope. Then on Sunday night there was a team that went in to bring out some bodies and they took photographs of other bodies. We all had to look at these pictures - something I would never want anyone to have to do - and identify them. That was how I knew. My heart just stopped, that was the last news in the world I wanted to hear. It's like nothing else, I can't fathom it, even now."
Also thought to be among the British victims was Ross Langdon, 33, an architect with dual British and Australian nationality who was shot with his pregnant girlfriend Elif Yavuz, a Dutchwoman educated at Harvard. Prime Minister David Cameron said it appeared at least six Britons had died as he returned from a Balmoral break with the Queen to chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee in Whitehall on Monday night. But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond warned the death toll could be even higher. Authorities have confirmed the deaths of 62 civilians. Another 65 people have been hospitalised for treatment.