BBC, THE GUARDIAN, ITV, THE TELEGRAPH, SKY NEWS, PRESS ASSOCIATION (UK)
LONDON- One of the two injured suspects has been named after Wednesday afternoon’s terrorist machete murder of a soldier outside a military barracks in southeast London.
Both alleged attackers were wounded and arrested by armed police in the aftermath of the spectacular murder in broad daylight in the Woolwich section of the capital.
The Guardian named one of the two men as Michael Adebolajo. The Telegraph writes that their British accents suggested that they were “home-grown” terrorists and security sources said they did not believe anyone else was involved in the incident.
Witnesses and cell phone camera footage confirmed that the attackers were taking revenge for Western wars in Muslim countries. "I killed him because he kills Muslims over there and I am fed up that kill people kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan," one of the attackers was quoted as saying.
A Cobra meeting, chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron, took place on Thursday morning to plan appropriate measures in response to the attack. Much of the incident was recorded by the public and published on social media sites such as Twitter, with TV station ITV obtaining graphic footage of one the attackers wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and making political statements.
According to the BBC, one of the priorities for those investigating the killing 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-terrorist police investigate the attack, the strategy meeting was attended by the mayor of London, the Home and Foreign secretaries, head of MI5, and head of the Metropolitan Police force, among others.
A statement from Cameron's office said that “There was an operational update from the police and agencies into the ongoing investigation and an update from the MOD Ministry of Defence on protective security. There was a discussion about community cohesion. The strength and unity of response from Muslim community leaders was recognised and commended by ministers and others around the table.”
In a late morning press conference, Cameron declared that one of the best ways of defeating terrorism is to go about our normal lives.
It was confirmed Thursday morning that the man was a soldier, but has not yet been named. A statement from Scotland Yard said the man’s next of kin had been informed but he has not been formally identified.
Tributes have been left outside the barracks and a Facebook page accumulated more than 1 million likes by Thursday morning.
The Telegraph quotes witnesses as saying that the men used a car to run over the soldier just yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, before setting about him with knives and a meat cleaver as if they were “trying to remove organs”. One unconfirmed report suggested that he had been beheaded.
Both men were wounded by armed police in the aftermath of the murder and one of the suspects is in a serious condition while the other is also being treated for injuries. Both are under arrest.
Sky News’ foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said: "At least one of them, we think, has converted from Christianity, or at least a Christian background, to Islam around about 10 years ago. The murder appeared to have been planned to ensure maximum publicity, with the killers urging witnesses to take their picture “as if they wanted to be on TV.”
Riot police had to contain an English Defence League demonstration in Woolwich, while elsewhere two mosques were attacked, reports Sky News.
The Guardian quoted EDL leader Tommy Robinson as having said "They're chopping our soldiers' heads off. This is Islam. That's what we've seen today. They've cut off one of our army's heads off on the streets of London.”
Military commanders had told troops not to wear their uniforms until further notice in fear of more attacks, but the Press Association reported Thursday that at the Cobra meeting, it was agreed that issuing orders against wearing military uniforms in public would not be the right response to the outrage.
Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britain pointed out that the British Muslim community had been quick to condemn the atrocity and warned against letting the far right exploit the situation.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson declared: The blame lay "wholly and exclusively in the deluded mindset of the people who did it.”