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British woman 'one of mall killers'
A British woman who has allegedly taken part in terrorist activity "many times before" was among the attackers who laid siege to a Kenyan shopping mall, the country's foreign minister has said.
Amina Mohamed claimed the militant acted alongside "two or three" Americans during the atrocity in Nairobi which killed at least 62 people, including six Britons.
The announcement will fuel speculation that British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, who was married to the July 7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was involved. 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.
The Kenyan authorities had claimed all the militants involved in the three-day mall siege were men but Ms Mohamed appeared to contradict this in a US television interview. "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," she told the PBS NewsHour programme.
Ms Mohamed said the alleged US militants were believed to have been around 18 or 19, of Somali or Arab origin and lived in "Minnesota and one other place".
Responsibility for the attack as been claimed by al-Shabab - an Islamist group based in neighbouring Somalia with links to al Qaida. Ms Mohamed said countries fighting the terrorist groups 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 Kenyan government needs to work "much more with the US and the UK because both the victims and the perpetrators came from Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States", she told the programme.
The foreign minister's call to arms came as horror stories began to emerge following the carnage at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall. 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". 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 returned from a Balmoral break with the Queen to chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee in Whitehall on Monday night. He said six Britons were believed to have been killed at the shopping centre but Defence Secretary Philip Hammond warned the death toll could be even higher. "It is possible we will discover further British nationals once the building is fully secure," he said.
Kenyan police claimed officers had regained control of the beleaguered mall.