Yesterday, a gruesome attack in London raised new fears of terrorism in Britain and shocked the rest of the world.
Two suspects wielding meat cleavers, a firearm and knives, attacked and killed an unarmed soldier in the middle of the day in Woolwich, South East London. Believed to be British-born Muslims of Nigerian descent, the men first rammed their car into the soldier before brutally hacking him to death, according to witnesses.
One of the suspects excitedly talked to a nearby camera, explaining why they killed the innocent man and what they hoped to accomplish in the future.
“The reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting until you leave us alone.”
Police eventually shot both suspects and took them into custody.
Today, new details have emerged about the Woolwich attack, which is now being called an act of terror. Here are the latest updates:
Who Are The Killers?
The two men who were seen hacking an innocent soldier to death have been identified as 28-year-old Michael Olumide Adebolajo and a 22-year-old whose name has not been released.
Both men are in stable condition after being shot down by police officers following the attack. Both are believed to be British-born Muslims of Nigerian descent. Senior Whitehall sources told the BBC that both men were known to security services for their radical views.
According to the Guardian, Adebolajo is believed to have converted to Islam a decade ago:
He was born in Lambeth in 1984 and attended Marshalls Park school in the Harold Hill area of the town. He was raised with his one brother and one sister by Christian parents, who are of Nigerian origin. Adebolajo also attended Greenwich University between 2004 and 2005. He is believed to have converted to Islam about ten years ago.
The leader of a banned Islamist organization also told media that Adebolajo, also known as Mujahid, was a pleasant guy. He also denied that his radical teachings could have convinced the suspect to attack:
Anjem Choudary, who lectured for the group, Al Muhajiroun, said Mujahid or ‘Michael’ had converted to Islam in 2003, but stopped attending meetings two years ago. He said:
“[Adebolajo] was a pleasant, quiet guy. He reverted to Islam in about 2003. He was just a completely normal guy. He was interested in Islam, in memorising the Koran. He disappeared about two years ago. I don’t know what influences he has been under since then.”
Details about the two men are emerging slowly. We’ll keep you updated on the latest.
The Victim Has Been Identified
The soldier murdered in the attack near military barracks in Woolwich has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby. The 25-year-old, of 2nd Batallion the Royal Regiment of Fusilliers, was killed in front of shocked onlookers as the suspects screamed “Allah” in the streets.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said everyone had been “shocked and saddened” by Drummer Rigby’s death.
“This was a senseless murder of a soldier who has served the army faithfully in a variety of roles including operational tours in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Our thoughts today are with his family and loved ones who are trying to come to terms with this terrible loss.”
Sky News understands Drummer Rigby, from Manchester, had served two tours in Afghanistan, the latest of which was in 2009.
Unedited Video Shows Attackers’ Message & Arrest
In an unedited video that’s circulating the internet, one of the attackers talks into a camera about why they brutally murdered a soldier.
In his political message, which is said to stem from extreme Islamic ideals, the first attacker can be heard saying this:
“I apologize that women had to see this today, but in our lands women have to see the same thing,” he says. “You people will never be safe. Remove your governments! They don’t care about you.”
With bloody hands, he calls for a war on London, and then joins the second attacker near the dead body. Later, you can see police handcuffing the two men after they shot and wounded the suspects.
A Full Transcript of the Chilling Video:
“The reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.
And this British soldier is one. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting until you leave us alone.
So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that means you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us.
Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones that when you drop a bomb you think it hits one person?
Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family?
That is the reality. By Allah if I saw your mother today with a buggy I would help her up their stairs. This is my nature.
We are forced by (inaudible Arabic) through many passages in the Koran we must fight them as they fight us.
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same.
You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you.
You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our gun, you think politicians are going to die? No it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children.
So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so we can all live in peace.
So leave our lands and we can all live in peace, that’s all I have to say.
Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you.”
Statement by the President on the Attack in London
On Thursday afternoon, the White House responded to the London attacks:
I condemn in the strongest terms the appalling attack against a British service member in Woolwich on May 22. The United States stands resolute with the United Kingdom, our ally and friend, against violent extremism and terror. There can be absolutely no justification for such acts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim, the police and security services responding to this horrific act and the communities they serve, and the British people. Our special relationship with the United Kingdom is especially important during times of trial, and I look forward to my trip to the United Kingdom to participate in the June G-8 Summit, hosted by Pr
ime Minister Cameron, which will include discussions on the important global security challenges our countries face together.