Attack victim was 'in armed forces'
Thursday, 23 May 2013 07:31

A man killed in a suspected terrorist attack in south-east London was a member of the armed forces, senior Whitehall sources have confirmed.

Two men spent the night under arrest in hospital as counter-terrorism police investigate the killing in Woolwich.

One man - his hands covered in blood- was filmed by a passer-by, saying he carried out the attack because British soldiers killed Muslims every day.

The PM is to chair a Cobra emergency response committee later.

David Cameron flew back from France yesterday to lead the government response. The meeting will be attended by politicians, the UK's most senior police officer and the new head of MI5.

Meanwhile, security has been increased at barracks across London.

The two suspects were shot and wounded by police after the attack - which took place in John Wilson Street, the A205, at 14:20 BST.

One is in a serious condition while the other is also being treated for injuries.

Attack victim was 'in armed forces'This man was photographed brandishing a knife and speaking to a woman at the scene

Eyewitnesses say the victim was hacked to death by two men shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great).

The men made no attempt to flee and encouraged people to take pictures of them and their victim.

In footage obtained by ITV News, one of the men was filmed wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and making political statements.

"I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same," he said.

"You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don't care about you."

The other was pictured holding a knife and speaking to a woman at the scene.

The Daily Telegraph says it has spoken to the woman.

Continue reading the main story


One of the priorities for those investigating the killing in Woolwich will be to establish whether it was a "lone wolf" attack, or the result of a wider conspiracy - possibly with links to al-Qaeda.

As counter-terrorism investigations go, this one is rich in clues. The two alleged murderers made no attempt to escape capture by police.

The investigators will want to know exactly who they are, who they know, and what their motive was for the attack.

If this was a one-off, self-motivated attack by just two individuals it would be alarming enough. But the fear for the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, and for the security service, MI5, is whether this could be part of a more orchestrated campaign.

Security has already been tightened as a precaution at several establishments.

According to the paper, Cub Scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett asked him: "Would you like to give me what you have in your hands?"

"He was covered with blood," she said. "I thought I had better talk to him before he starts attacking somebody else."

She says the suspect told her the dead man was a British soldier, adding: "I killed him because he kills Muslims over there and I am fed up that people kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan."

A blue vehicle believed to be involved in the incident was covered with red tarpaulin and towed away from the scene - it is thought the victim may have been hit by the car before he was attacked.

The Muslim Council of Britain said the murder was "a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly".

Meanwhile, two men have been arrested after separate attacks on mosques.

A 43-year-old was held in custody on Wednesday night suspected of attempted arson after reportedly walking into a mosque holding a knife in Braintree, Essex.

Another man was arrested in Gillingham on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage as around 250 supporters of the English Defence League gathered in Woolwich and clashed with police.

John Reid, a former home secretary, warned against "playing into the agenda" of the perpetrators.

"The dividing line is not between Islam and non-Islam," he told the BBC. "It is between the terrorists and everyone else."

At a press conference with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Mr Cameron said Britain would "never buckle" in the face of terror attacks.

"People across Britain, people in every community, I believe, will utterly condemn this attack," said Mr Cameron, who was previously planning to stay in Paris on Wednesday night.

Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, MI5 director general Andrew Parker, Home Secretary Theresa May, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Mayor of London Boris Johnson are among those expected to attend Thursday morning's Cobra meeting.

Meanwhile, armed forces personnel based in London and elsewhere have been told to be more vigilant.

That is on top of the extra precautions now being taken at London's 10 or so main barracks.

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said that, since British forces intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan, they and their families have been well aware they might be targets at home.

At least two plots by Islamic extremists to kill soldiers in the UK have been foiled in recent years.

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