British authorities describe London soldier attack as terrorism - KMSP-TV

British authorities describe London soldier attack as terrorism

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A British soldier was killed by two knife-wielding assailants in broad daylight on a London street on Wednesday in what British authorities are calling a case of terrorism.


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Police were called to an assault in which a man was being attacked in the street by two individuals armed with a variety of weapons, including a firearm and a "machete-style knife" -- but the two men didn't run. Rather, they essentially posed for the cameras. 

In fact, the surreal scene was captured on cell phone video. It began as two men ran over a soldier with their car before they got out and stabbed him repeatedly, reportedly decapitating him.

As onlookers milled about, one killer walked up to the camera to justify his actions while still holding a knife and meat cleaver in his bloody hands.

"I apologize women had to witness this today, but in our land, women have to witness the same," he said. "You people will never be safe. Remove your governments. They don't care about you."

With that, he casually walked back to where the soldier lay dead in the street to talk with his accomplice. A bystander even confronted them, standing toe to toe as police made their way to the scene.

Witnesses say the men watched the police car arrive, and the man holding the gun walked over to it before he was shot. Police said both attackers were shot by authorities and taken to separate London hospitals for treatment of serious injuries.

The man who took the video said it was clear the killers wanted to get their message across.

"He said, 'Oh no, no, no, it's cool. I just want to talk to you,'" the cameraman recalled.

After the attack, British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the killing as "truly shocking," and said there are "strong indications" that the attack was terror-related. He asked Home Secretary Theresa May to call an urgent meeting of the government's emergency committee.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said it was urgently investigating reports that a serving soldier was involved in the incident.

Richard Lett spent 15 years protecting the royal family, and he spoke with FOX 9 News from London to say he believes the incident is a case of home-grown terror.

"The guy's accent is a fairly established London accent," Lett said.

In that sense, he says the two men may be Britain's version of the Tsarnaev brothers, inspired by hate, confused in their faith and eager to be martyrs for their cause.

"They get on this jihadist rhetoric, they get carried away with it," Lett said. "Next thing, thoughts and words can become deeds and they can shock themselves with what they'll do."

Islamic organizations in Britain were quick to condemn the attack.

Scotland Yard said officers responded to reports of the assault Wednesday afternoon in the southeast London neighborhood of Woolwich, just a few blocks from a military training barracks. London Ambulance service said one man was found dead at the scene and two other men were taken to the hospital, with one in serious condition.

"These two guys were crazed. They were just animals," one witness, identified as James, told LBC radio. "They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."

Live television images of the scene showed a trail of blood staining a pavement, cordoned off streets and crime scene investigators marking the scene.

The footage, shown on the ITV website, shows a man with bloody hands, saying: "We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

David Dixon, head teacher of a nearby primary school, said police told him there was a serious incident. He said he saw a body lying in the road outside.

He told the BBC that he then made sure children were inside and put the school into lockdown mode. He said he then heard shots fired.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is called in when officers are involved in shootings, confirmed that it is investigating the incident, which took place near the Royal Artillery Barracks.

The barracks -- which house a number of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and independent companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards -- were the site of shooting events during the 2012 London Olympics.

As of Thursday morning, the two terror suspects were in serious condition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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