A report from a Russian news source, which says that a British woman terrorist suspect known around the world as 'White Widow' has been killed by a Russian sniper, has been going viral through Wednesday and Thursday.
The most wanted woman in the world, whom the INTERPOL had issued 'Red Notice' for, was reportedly shot, according to Russia's Reputed Regnum news agency in Moscow.
The 30-year-old terrorist was killed two weeks ago after joining the conflict in Ukraine, fighting for a pro-government group, the news agency claimed.
Stating that a $1million bounty has been put on the head of the sniper who shot dead the British terror suspect, the news agency said: "One of the world's most wanted terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite, who fought as part of a Ukrainian battalion, has been killed by a volunteer sniper.
"According to our information, the White Widow fought on the side of Ukrainian volunteer battalion Aidar as a sniper."
There are good indications, however, that the news is simply a rumour or a hoax.
Firstly the claim has not been officially confirmed by any of the intelligence sources. Some news sources only stated that western intelligence agencies were investigating the alleged report, but they had no comments to make on the claim.
Secondly the Russian news service did not recognise or name its source, leaving the news report vague and unclear. The third reason to take the news with a pinch of salt would be that British officials, in fact, said that they have no evidence of Lewthwaite being in Ukraine as alleged by the newspaper, British outlets such as the Telegraph and the Mirror report.
More importantly, INTERPOL, which has listed the woman as one of its most wanted suspects has neither commented on the claim nor issued a statement saying that they are aware of the claims. It cannot be possible that the most wanted woman would have been killed without the knowledge of the agency.
The fifth and the most important fact of the matter is that the extraordinarily unconfirmed claim came amid a welter of propaganda from Moscow and Kiev over the Ukrainian conflict.
The Daily Mail rightly noted in a report that the claim that Lewthwaite is dead and that she was killed by a 'Russian' sniper could be an attempt by Russia to take credits for its anti-terrorism activity at a time when the world is amassing heaps of allegations that it is launching a proxy war in Ukraine.