Thursday, 23 May 2013

Terrorists kill British soldier in London in broad daylight

Two men attacked and killed a British soldier yesterday in broad daylight, in front of dozens of spectators, outside the Royal Artillery barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, hacking him with a meat cleaver and stabbing him with a big kitchen knife.

The attack was caught on camera.
The attackers then stayed on the scene for about fifteen minutes, with one of them shouting jihadi slogans and explaining their violence as part of a jihadist-inspired fight against the West, as spectators recorded the sordid scene on their smartphones. Police officers who arrived on the scene shot and wounded the two men before apprehending them. The two are now being treated in separate local hospitals, under guard.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who was in Paris at the time of the attack, described the incident as “an absolutely sickening attack.”

One of the attackers – the one who was explaining the attack — was identified as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, a British-born Nigerian who converted to Islam in 2003. The other attacker was born in Nigeria and became a naturalized British citizen. Both men were members of a militant Islamic group called Al Muhajiroun. The group was banned a few years ago.
In London, the government’s civil contingencies committee, known as COBRA (for the location inside 10 Downing Street, where they meet: Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) met for an hour, and met again this morning for operational updates.

Yesterday’s attack was the first al Qaeda-inspired attack to claim a life on British soil since the 7 July 2005 bombings in London.

The Guardian reports that the counter-terrorism officials were trying to determine whether the incident was a random, gruesome event or the start of a trend.

A video of one of the attackers, standing not far from the soldier’s body, was aired on TV. The attacker said: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

The man, holding bloody meat cleaver and a knife in his hands and speaking in a British accent, continued: “We must fight them. I apologize that women had to witness this today. But in our land, our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you.
“You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start bussin’ our guns? 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 you can all live in peace.”
The video then shows the man walking toward the victim’s body to talk with another man standing there.

Analysts note that the rhetoric was reminiscent of that used in al Qaeda-influenced propaganda, in particular the reference to “our land” a term violent jihadists use to describe Muslim territory being despoiled by Western soldiers.

In a statement, Metropolitan police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said the counter-terrorism command was leading the investigation after two men were arrested.
Some of the passersby tried to talk to the attackers and persuade them to stop the attack, but to no avail.

The barracks near to where the attack happened houses the Princess of Wales’s regiment and the King’s Troop, which is a ceremonial unit that relocated to Woolwich last year.
Cameron said Britain had faced terror attacks before, then added: “We will never buckle in the face of it.”

Government sources said that the terrorism threat level remains at substantial, meaning an attack is a strong possibility.

The Guardian notes that the incident was a new style of terrorist attack in Britain, and reminiscent of a past and disrupted plot by violent jihadists in Birmingham in 2007 to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier.

Culled from the Homeland Security Newswire

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