A soldier has been beheaded in a barbaric attack by two men on a street outside Woolwich army barracks in South East London. In the shocking scene, one of the killers addressed witnesses saying "you will never be safe."
In broad daylight two men in their mid-20s attacked a man dressed in a military uniform killing him and apparently trying to behead him while shouting "God is greatest" in Arabic, according to witnesses.
The UK government has confirmed that the victim if the attack
was a member of the British armed forces, the BBC reported.
Shocking footage recorded by witnesses during the carnage and
made public by ITV shows a man holding a meat cleaver with blood on
his hands using jihadist rhetoric to justify the violence.
“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting
you,” the attacker said, with the body of the victim lying just
yards away. “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 attacker added, apparently referring to British military efforts in Afghanistan.
The attackers did not even try to flee the crime scene, brandishing guns and urging the witnesses to call the police and asking pedestrians to take pictures of them “as if they wanted to be on TV or something,” according to witnesses.
After the officers arrived the two perpetrators were shot and transported to separate London hospitals. The victim was dead before police arrived on the scene.
“I apologize that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same,” the suspect, clad in a dark hooded jacket and a black hat, continued in the video. “You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you.”
Emergency calls first came in at approximately 2:20 pm local time, with callers saying the pair crashed a car before jumping out and attacking the victim. “They looked like they were on drugs,” one woman said.
Britain’s Prime Minister told reporters there are “strong
indications that this is a terrorist incident,” adding that the
UK would “never buckle” to such heinous violence. Cameron
cut short his meeting with French president Hollande to return home
and address the tragedy.
British leaders convened in an emergency meeting Wednesday
afternoon while multiple out-of-country lawmakers also reported on
Twitter they had cut their trip short to return to the UK.
The incident happened next to Woolwhich barracks but the Ministry of Defense has not yet confirmed whether the dead man was in fact a soldier.
#Woolwich being treated as a politically motivated Islamist attack. Attackers reported to have filmed each other and shouted 'Allahu Akbar'— RT London Bureau (@RTLondonBureau) May 22, 2013
A Muslim resident told Reuters that "this has nothing to do with Islam. Its heartbreaking, its heartbreaking."
One of the witness to the tragedy, called James and who was one
of the first people to call the police, told LBC radio that
initially they thought the two men were trying to help the one who
was on the ground.
"We thought the two guys were helping him. We then saw two kitchen knives like you would find in a butchers shop, they were hacking at this poor guy literally. We thought they were trying to remove organs or something. One of the black guys then shouted to me and my partner to get in the car. I then moved the car down the road and dialed 999."
James continued that they there was no way a human could take
what they did to him. They then dragged the dead man into the
middle of the road and then stood on the pavement waving the gun
about, as if they were proud of what they had done.
He said that some women bystanders were trying to shield the dead man from further attacks and that the men could have killed them if they had wanted to.
James continued that the attackers had the opportunity to run
away if they had wanted but they were apparently waiting for
Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that he had asked the Home Secretary Theresa May to chair a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency committee and that she had requested updates from MI5 and the Metropolitan Police and the government were treating the incident as suspected terrorist attack.
The Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson have also arrived at the Cobra meeting.
The meeting lasted just under an hour and heard that security has been tightened at Woolwich barracks and increased at all London barracks, Downing Street said, the Mirror reports.
Cameron said at a press conference with French President Francoise Hollande that there were "strong indications that it is a terrorist incident."
Roy Ramm, a former Scotland Yard commander of specialist operations, told the BBC News Channel that the police will be looking into the background of the two men in custody to try and determine if they were part of an organized network or acting alone.
The mayor of London Boris Johnson said that security has been stepped up at military installations across the country and that London's "incredibly resilient" communities had been here before and would pull together.