A serving British soldier was killed in a brutal street attack in south east London, the Woolwich suburb, on Wednesday afternoon at about 2:20pm local time (1300GMT/UTC).
The currently unidentified soldier was hit by a car driven by two men who then got out and used knives and cleavers to hack at the dead man’s body. The attack took place at the side of the road – the attackers then dragged the soldier’s body to the centre of the roadway.
Horrified witnesses tried to stop the brutality and the two involved men stopped to make comments to witnesses, one which was video taping the aftermath of the attack.
The attacker speaking into the camera said, “We swear by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reasons we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye a tooth for tooth.”
The attacker continued, “I apologize that women have 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.”
The two men that killed the soldier were shot by British police shortly after the incident. The men were not killed are are being treated in two separate hospitals.
A witness said the “police turned up and he’s [one of the suspects] ran towards them with meat cleavers before I could even get out of the car so they shot him. And then the other one lifts the gun up and they shot him as well.”
The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, called the incident a “sickening and barbaric attack”. She also did not confirm whether the attackers were known to MI5 or the police.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said there is a strong indication that the killing was an act of terrorism. Cameron, on a visit to Paris to meet with the French President, said he will be returning to the UK Wednesday night.
Muslim community members condemned the attack.
The most recent terrorist plot involving the British Army was in 2007. Th 2007 plot, that was never carried out, involved the capture and beheading of a British Muslim soldier to reportedly inhibit the recruitment of Muslims and to lower British Army morale.
Four people were sentenced to between three years and life imprisonment based on charges that include conspiracy to kidnap and commit murder and supplying terrorists to militants fighting the International Security Assistance Force, operating under NATO, in Afghanistan.