One of the two men accused of murdering a young British soldier in London has been named. Both accused are believed to be radical Islamists. The soldier who died has also been named.
Two British men, reportedly of Nigerian descent, accused of killing a young British serving soldier near Woolwich Barracks in southeast London, were known to security services according to the Reuters news agency.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday: "This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act."
One of the suspects was named by acquaintances as 28-year-old Londoner Michael Adebolajo - a British-born convert to radical Islam. According to British media reports, police raided homes of relatives in the city and near the town of Lincoln in the east of the country. The other man may have been born abroad and later naturalized as British. Both are in custody in hospitals after being shot by police.
Cameron said there would be a review of how intelligence had been handled - Adebolajo had been known to authorities for handing out radical Islamist pamphlets in Woolwich. According to local reports, police took twenty minutes to arrive at the scene of Wednesday's attack.
Islamist cleric Anjem Choudary said Adebolajo was known to fellow Muslims as Mujahid - a name meaning "warrior": "When I knew him he was very pleasant man," Choudary said. "He was peaceful, unassuming and I don't think there's any reason to think he would do anything violent."
The soldier who died was named as Drummer Lee Rigby. The 25 year old served with 2nd Batallion the Royal Regiment of Fusilliers. He had served in Afghanistan.
The two men used a car to run down Rigby on a London street in broad daylight. They tried to behead him with a meat cleaver and knives, witnesses said, shouting that they acted in revenge for British wars in Muslim countries.
Images of the blood-soaked suspect were published on the front pages of Thursday's newspapers.
A trained first aider Ingrid Loyau-Kennett was on a bus blocked by the incident . She got off to try to help Rigby but found he was already dead.
Cameron commented on Loyau-Kennett's intervention: "When told by the attacker that he wanted to start a war in London," Cameron said, "She replied, 'You're going to lose. It's only you versus many.' She spoke for us all."
The last serious terrorist attack in London was on July 7, 2005, when four young British Islamists set off suicide bombs on underground trains and a bus. They killed 52 people and injured hundreds more.
Attacks on the Boston Marathon in April have raised the profile of individuals carrying out terrorist action without obvious connections to organized groups.
jm/kms (Reuters, AP)