People once smirked at the idea that London would turn into Afghanistan. What was once speculation, is now reality.
Terrorism returned to the streets of Britain today as a soldier was murdered by two suspected Islamists who attempted to behead and disembowel him as he left his barracks, in the first deadly attack since the 2005 London bombings.
The soldier was ambushed by the two men as he left the base in Woolwich, south-east London, who attacked him and then dragged his body into the middle of the road to pose for photographs while standing over him waving a machete and a gun, according to witnesses.
The men were believed to have waited outside the Woolwich barracks of the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, which has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, where one of its members, Sergeant Johnson Beharry, won the VC.
One witness, identified only as James, said he and his partner saw two black men attack a young man aged around 20 in a Help for Heroes T-shirt with kitchen knives like he was “a piece of meat”.
“They were hacking at this poor guy, literally,” he told LBC Radio, adding that a group of brave women tryied to shield the soldier from the two men.
The two attackers hacked the victim to death in broad daylight with large knives and afterward approached eyewitnesses, asking them to start filming with their camera phones. One of the attackers, who spoke with a southern London accent, carried a meat cleaver and his hands were deeply stained with blood as we spoke directly to the camera.
The pair chanted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” during the sickening attack, according to witnesses.
“We swear by almighty Allah, we will never stop fighting you.”
Just a few minutes later, armed police arrived. The two men rushed the police, according to eyewitnesses, and police opened fire, wounding both of them.
The attackers “went for the police with the machetes, knife and handgun,” one eyewitness told the BBC. “I don’t think they cared.”
One unnamed eyewitness told the BBC she saw a man being a chased by a car while walking her dog. “The car then screeched to a halt and two men got out one had some kind of sword,” she said. They swung the sword, which multiple reports have suggested was a machete, at the man’s head. Woolwich and Greenwich MP Nick Raynsford said the victim was believed to be a serving member of the military.
Another eyewitness provided another gruesome take to the local radio station LBC: “These two guys were crazy, they just were not there, they were just animals. They dragged the poor guy — he was obviously dead, there was no way a human could take what they did to him. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.”
One witness, called James, told LBC radio: “We saw clearly two knives, meat cleavers, they were big kitchen knives like you would use in a butcher’s, they were hacking at this poor guy, we thought they were trying to remove organs from him”
Eyewitnesses said the victim was hacked to death, with some suggesting his attackers tried to behead him, before charging at police when they arrived on the scene in Woolwich, south east London.
One of the men behind the attack in Woolwich, south east London, was filmed wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and saying, “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you”, in footage shown on ITV News tonight.