British Prime Minister David Cameron said the brutal killing of a soldier who was hacked to death in London by two men shouting Jihadist slogans was a betrayal of Islam.
"We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms," Cameron told reporters outside his Downing Street residence on Thursday.
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"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."
Britons are still having difficulty coming to terms with Wednesday’s brazen butchering of a soldier on a London street, in the light of day, and especially with the bizarre show the attackers put on for cameras, after the fact.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old British mother of two, jumped off of the bus on which she was riding when she saw the body of a soldier stretched out on the street in south east London, thinking the man needed help.
She checked his pulse and then tried to talk to one of the men who had stabbed him to death. "We want to start a war in London tonight," the man told her. She replied, "Right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose."
With remarkable level headedness, Loyau-Kennett confronted the two attackers who had killed the soldier, beheaded him and shouted throughout, "Allah Akbar."
"I wasn’t scared. Better me than a child," she said, when asked whether she feared for her safety during the encounter with the two who still held bloody knives. "There were women and children there. It was important." The woman's testimony was published today in the British newspaper The Daily Mail, as well as other newspapers.
Man with knife talks to Loyau-Kennett (Photo: Reuters)
"I saw a man on the road, obviously injured and a car badly crashed. I assumed it was a road accident, although the car was funny on the pavement, it was not coming on the road," said Loyau-Kennett to television channel ITV News. "When I approached the body there was a lady cradling him and then the guy, the most excited one of the two said, don’t go too close to the body."
'I could see a butcher's knife and you know these axes butchers have to cut – that's what he had, and blood all over him," she said. "I thought, what the heck what happened here? Okay, I thought obviously he (the man with the knife) was a bit excited, so I thought the thing was just to talk to him."
Screamed "Allah Akbar" during attack (Photo: Reuters)
Loyau-Kennett, a former school teacher, said she had no special training in dealing with such situations. She said that the man, who instructed her not to touch the soldier’s body, told her, 'I killed him.'
When she asked the admitted murderer why he had targeted the soldier, Loyau-Kennett said he replied, "He is a British soldier, he killed people, he killed Muslim people, in Muslim countries." The man told her he killed the soldier in retaliation for "all the bomb droppings and killings, blindly, women.”
Attack headlines in British press
Although the assumption is that the incident was a terrorist attack, the actions of two killers seem odd in comparison to the scenes of other attacks. For example, after killing the soldier, the two men found the time to engage in long chats with passersby, who filmed them as the two explained why they had attacked the soldier.
Additionally, they did not attempt to escape or hurt others, even though they had opportunity to do so. One witness claimed that the men seemed "drugged", but there has been no confirmation from other sources, and the UK government announced there is strong evidence that the incident was a terrorist-related and not a random murder.
Wednesday's attack, in which the two men rushed and beheaded the soldier, took place outside a London military training barracks. Within an hour of the attack, Sky News reported that the incident was most likely an Islamic extremist attack with political motivations.
Police who arrived at the scene shot and injured the two men, who were then transferred to the hospital. One of the attackers is listed in serious condition.
An eyewitness to the incident described the men as shouting during the attack. The witness said they carried three knives, including a machete, a butcher knife and an old rifle, and that the men encouraged witnesses to film the attack with their cameras.
Witnesses also said it seemed as if the men were purposely waiting for police to arrive, as if they wanted to attack them as well. Another witness said the men prayed.
British authorities are checking to see whether there is a connection between the attackers and Nigeria. Prime Minister Cameron said in a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande that there were indications that the violent attack was an act of terrorism, and that he would be cutting his visit to France short in order to return to the UK.
One of the men who carried out the attack was British-born and of Nigerian descent, a source with knowledge of the investigation said. The other man may also be British with a Nigerian background, the source told Reuters. British media has identified one of the men as Michael Adebolajo, citing police sources.
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