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Ally of world's most wanted woman the White Widow shot dead in Somalia raid: Briton killed by rival Islamic militants

// Latest News
  • British bomb-maker Habib Ghani was ambushed in a raid by a rival group
  • He had been on the run with 7/7 bomber's wife, Samantha Lewthwaite
  • al-Shabab gunmen lay in wait posing as camel herders outside village
  • The group had been hunting rival members following a split

By Rebecca Camber and Sara Smyth

PUBLISHED: 17:57 EST, 12 September 2013 | UPDATED: 02:55 EST, 13 September 2013

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A British bomb-maker on the run with the widow of a London 7/7 bomber is believed to have been killed in a gun battle in Somalia.

Habib Ghani, 28, was ambushed along with one of America’s most wanted terrorists in a dawn raid after falling out with commanders from militant group al-Shabab.

The fanatic – who also called himself Osama al-Britani – was a key ally of Muslim convert Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, who was married to King’s Cross bomber Jermaine Lindsay.

Killed: Habib Ghani (left) is believed to have been shot dead in Somalia. He has been on the run with Samantha Lewthwaite (right) since 2011

Killed: Habib Ghani (left) is believed to have been shot dead in Somalia. He has been on the run with Samantha Lewthwaite (right) since 2011

The so-called ‘White Widow’, who is the world’s most wanted woman, has been on the run in East Africa after police foiled a Christmas bomb plot against Western tourists in the coastal resort of Mombasa in 2011.

Police believe the soldier’s daughter from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, had been working with Ghani for several years, although she was not thought to have been present when gunmen struck early yesterday.

Ghani, from Hounslow, west London, and Omar Hammami, also called al-Amriki (The American), are thought to have been shot by gunmen from al-Shabab, who overpowered their bodyguards in a village where they had been in hiding since fleeing the terror group in June.

'Dead': Militants in Somalia have claimed that American jihadist Omar Hammami has been killed. In April, he tweeted this pictured, right, following what he called an assassination attempt as he was in a tea shop

Killed: Hammami, right, joined al-Shabab in 2006. He is pictured with deputy leader of al-Shabab. Sheik Mukhtar Abu Mansur Robow, left, in 2011 but he went on the run after falling out with the group

Killed: Hammami, right, joined al-Shabab in 2006. He is pictured with deputy leader of al-Shabab. Sheik Mukhtar Abu Mansur Robow, left, in 2011 but he went on the run after falling out with the group

Popular: Hammami was voted president of his Sophomore class and dated one of the most popular girls in school

Popular: Hammami was voted president of his Sophomore class and dated one of the most popular girls in school

Residents in al-Baate village in southern Somalia said their bodies were dragged away by rebels.

‘This morning al-Amriki and his comrades were attacked by well-armed fighters,’ said Hussein Nur.

Convert: Soldier's daughter Samantha Lewthwaite pictured at school

Convert: Soldier's daughter Samantha Lewthwaite pictured at school

‘After a brief fight, al-Amriki and his two colleagues were killed. Several of their guards escaped.’

The al-Shabab gunmen struck at 5.30am, just after morning prayers, capturing the jihadists unawares.

Sources said the gunmen had lain in wait for several days, posing as camel herders.

Ghani and Hammami were allies of Somali Islamist Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who split from al-Shabab in June, causing a rift in the group’s ranks.

Since the split, al-Shabab has been hunting down and killing allies of Aweys.

Al-Amriki was on the FBI’s Most Wanted terror list and a $5million (£3.1million) bounty was offered for information leading to his capture.

Ghani was born in the UK to a Pakistani father and a Kenyan mother. According to police sources, he left his home in Hounslow several years ago and gained bomb-making experience in Pakistan.

Last night details emerged about Ghani’s secret life in Somalia where he was also known locally as Sheikh Towfiq.

Target: One of Americas most wanted terrorists, Omar Hammami (left), was killed alongside Ghani. Lewthwaite and Ghani had been on the run since 2011 when police swooped on another extremist, Jermaine Grant (right)

The bearded Briton was living with his Somalian wife Habibo and two children, a boy aged three and a baby girl just a few months old, in the remote town of Hawalbarbar which has no electricity.

He owned a small kiosk, where he charged phone batteries with his solar-powered adapter for a fee.

Ghani and Lewthwaite were said to have fled Kenya in December 2011 as police swooped on a third and unconnected British extremist, Jermaine Grant, who was living on the other side of Mombasa.

Police feared she and Ghani were planning to unleash a terror attack as the tourist season got under way but she managed to slip the net.

Lewthwaite is believed to be a vital conduit between Al Qaeda groups in Pakistan and East Africa.

White Widow: Samantha Lewthwaite converted to Islam and married 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay (pictured)

White Widow: Samantha Lewthwaite converted to Islam and married 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay (pictured)

Slaughter: Shehzad Tanweeer, Jermaine Lindsay and Mohammad Sidique Khan with their rucksacks at Luton railway station while carrying out a dry run days before the blasts killed 52

Slaughter: Shehzad Tanweeer, Jermaine Lindsay and Mohammad Sidique Khan with their rucksacks at Luton railway station while carrying out a dry run days before the blasts killed 52

The mother of four converted to Islam at the age of 17 and married Lindsay in 2002 after meeting him on the internet.

She was seven months pregnant when Lindsay, a Jamaican convert from Huddersfield, killed 26 people when he blew himself up on a Piccadilly Line train in July 2005.

Since her disappearance, Lewthwaite has been linked to a spate of grenade attacks in Mombasa, including one which killed three people.

Ghani’s family, who live in a modest £270,000 terraced house in a quiet suburban street, refused to speak to reporters last night.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Somalia and are looking into this.’

WHITE WIDOW CONVERT FROM BUCKINGHAMSHIRE REMAINS AT LARGE

Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has been on the run for nearly two years.

Lewthwaite is suspected of funding terrorist groups in Kenya and was questioned by police in December 2011, but she managed to slip away and has been on the run ever since.

The mother-of-three was pregnant with Jermaine Lindsay's baby when he blew himself up on a tube at Kings Cross, killing 26 people.

Fifty two people were killed and more than 700 were injured when four suicide bombers struck in London during the morning of July 7, 2005.

Mohammad Sidique Khan killed seven people including himself on a train heading towards Paddington from Edgware Road.

Shehzad Tanweer detonated a bomb aboard a train between Liverpool Street station and Aldgate tube station, killing seven.

And Hasib Hussain detonated his bomb on the top deck of a bus in Tavistock Square killing 13 people.

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