‘We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you’: What man holding bloody cleaver said after ‘hacking soldier in Help For Heroes T-shirt to death just yards from Woolwich barracks’
By MARK DUELL, ROB COOPER and JAMES RUSH
PUBLISHED: 09:49 EST, 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 17:42 EST, 22 May 2013
A dramatic video tonight emerged of a man with bloodied hands, carrying knives and ranting ‘We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you’, after a serving soldier was hacked to death by two men just 200 yards from an Army barracks.
The man can be seen and heard talking to the camera. The video came as terrified eyewitnesses saw two men shot by police marksmen after the machete attack in Woolwich, south-east London.
The two men are thought to have waited around for 20 minutes until Metropolitan Police officers arrived and then tried to attack them – but were swiftly shot by armed policemen, including a woman.
They apparently shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, which means ‘God is great’ in Arabic, and tried to film the attack, the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe tonight confirmed two men had been arrested and officers from the counter-terrorist unit were leading the investigation into the killing.
He said: ‘It is hard to comprehend the shocking and horrific scenes we have seen this afternoon on a busy street as Londoners went about their day as normal. We have launched a murder investigation.’
Theresa May tonight called a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee in response to the machete and knife attack on the man who was wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt.
The Home Secretary said she had been briefed on the killing by the head of MI5 and police later confirmed they were treating the incident as a possible terror attack.
The Cobra meeting heard that security has been tightened at Woolwich barracks and increased at all London barracks. It was also told there are strong indications that this was a terrorist incident.
Mrs May said said: ‘What happened today in Woolwich was a sickening and barbaric attack. This attack was an attack on everyone in the UK. It will be condemned by people from every community.
‘We have seen terrorism on the streets of Britain before, and have always stood firm against it. Despicable acts like these will not go unpunished.’
Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron cancelled a meeting with French President Francois Hollande to return to London. He said Britain has faced similar terror attacks before and added: ‘We will never buckle in the face of it.’ ‘We have seen terrorism on the streets of Britain before, and have always stood firm against it. Despicable acts like these will not go unpunished’
Eyewitnesses said the ‘crazed’ men in their 20s launched a ferocious attack and were ‘hacking, chopping and cutting him.’
In footage released by ITV News, a man with bloodied hands carrying a knife and a machete addresses people holding a camera, where he appears to attempt to justify the incident.
Speaking to those recording the scene he says: ‘I apologise 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.’
In footage obtained by The Sun, he can also be heard saying: ‘You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting 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.’
Following his outburst, the man walks back towards where the victim is lying in the middle of the road. He then speaks to another man as they stand near to the victim.
One eyewitness claimed one of the soldier’s attackers was seen last week preaching in Woolwich.
Jamie France, 29, a local musician, said: ‘I spoke to my mum on the phone and showed her the video footage from the internet. She told me that she recognised one of the men with the knife.
‘She said she’d seen him last week preaching in Woolwich town centre. She said she remembers him because he’d been really angry and was saying all this political stuff.’
Mr Cameron said on Twitter that ‘the killing in Woolwich is truly shocking – I have asked the Home Secretary to chair a Cobra meeting.’
Help for Heroes, the charity whose T-shirt witnesses said the victim was wearing, said: ‘Help for Heroes is appalled to hear that a man, believed to be a serving soldier, has been brutally murdered in Woolwich today.
‘We are desperately saddened to hear of this sickening attack and offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, colleagues and friends.’
The charity’s website crashed as Britons queued up to pledge their support to it following the Woolwich killing, but it was up and running again a short while after.
Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is cutting short a visit to Germany to return to the UK, said: ‘This is a truly appalling murder which will shock the entire country. All of my thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.
‘People across our country, whatever background they are from, will be united in condemning this attack and we will stand together, as we always do, in our response’
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
‘The British people will be horrified by what has happened in Woolwich. They will be united in believing that this terror on our streets cannot be allowed to stand.’
And Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: ‘This afternoon witnessed a shocking and horrifying murder on the streets of our capital. The whole nation’s thoughts will be with the family and friends of the victim this evening.
‘People across our country, whatever background they are from, will be united in condemning this attack and we will stand together, as we always do, in our response.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The Queen is of course concerned by the report of an attack in Woolwich earlier today. Her Majesty is being kept informed.’
Locals at the scene were warned police may have to carry out a controlled explosion on the attackers’ car.
A father of three, who referred to himself only as Kwamu, said two police officers came to his flat, in a block just yards from the attack on John Wilson Road, at around 7pm to tell him to leave his home.
He said: ‘They knocked on my door about an hour ago, two police officers. The woman police officer told me to get my family together and get out. She said they think there could be a bomb in the car.
‘I was getting my daughters ready to go outside but when I went down the stairs some people from the block were going in. They told me that police now want us to stay inside. It is very frightening.’
The Ministry of Defence said it was urgently looking at the reports that the incident involved a soldier but had no further comment.
Killing: The attack happened on John Wilson Street in Woolwich, south-east London, this afternoon, close to the military barracks
Probe: Police cordon off surrounding roads after a man was killed in Woolwich, south London, this afternoon
Military: The victim was a serving soldier and is believed to be based at the nearby Woolwich barracks
Footage from a TV news helicopter showed a large number of weapons lying in the street following the incident. A London Ambulance Service spokesman said one man had died at the scene.
He added: ‘Our staff treated two others. Both men were taken to hospital, one of them is in a serious condition, the other is not.’
One witness, identified as James, said he and his partner saw two black men attack the young victim with knives, including a meat cleaver. ‘They were hacking at this poor guy, literally,’ he told LBC.
Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford confirmed tonight that the two attackers were shot by armed officers.
He said in a statement: ‘At approximately 1420 we were called to reports of an assault in John Wilson Street, Woolwich, where one man was being assaulted by two other men.
‘A number of weapons were reportedly being used in the attack and this included reports of a firearm.
‘Officers including local Greenwich officers arrived at the scene and shortly after firearms officers arrived on the scene.
Eyewitnesses tell of horror scene at soldier killing in Woolwich
Horror: A large crowd gathers at the scene in Woolwich as police and ambulance services arrive after a man was apparently stabbed to death
Probe: An air ambulance can be seen landing at the scene in Woolwich, south London, this afternoon. Two men were later rushed to hospital while a third man died
‘I’m still really shaken up. When he was dead, they dragged him out into the road and left him there. It was strange, they didn’t run off, they just stood there as if they were waiting for the police.
‘It must have taken about 20 minutes for the police to arrive, I think it must’ve been because they were waiting for armed police.
‘The police officers got out of the car and the two black men ran towards them with the gun.
‘The police shot them. They fell to the ground. Then a helicopter landed. Think it must’ve been an air ambulance.
‘The paramedics got out and I think they were working on the two men to try and keep them alive.
‘I don’t know if they died, they were taken away in the helicopter. A blanket was put over the white guy lying in the road. ‘I just can’t believe what I saw.’
Until we face the fact that the problem is Islam itself we cannot take proper steps to protect the ones we love. Osama Bin Laden had warned us for years that his Islam is the Islam.
For further evidence of what I am saying just watch and see that there will be no widespread condemnation of this heinous act that occurred on the streets of London just as there was no outcry against the bombing in Boston anywhere in the Arab world.
Imagine if some maniac walked up to a soldier and began mutilating him in the name of Jesus. The roar of condemnation by millions of Christians would be deafening!
Some appeasers will say that any steps to curb Islamic violence will lead to more violence. That is patently insane and an invitation to tyranny Until the civilized world takes a unanimous stand against Islamic violence we can only expect to see a continual rise in religious anarchy.
As a Christian I am to be as harmless as a dove. That means that I must possess a Spirit-controlled temperament On the other hand I am to as wise as a serpent. As believers we cannot be confused about the dangers of today. Absolutely we must trust God for divine protection but we cannot mute our soul against divine warnings.