Vikram Dodd, Guardian (London), May 22, 2013
Dramatic footage has emerged of the suspected terrorist attack near the London barracks that left one man dead, showing a suspect with blood-covered hands using jihadist rhetoric to justify the violence.
On Wednesday night the prime minister, David Cameron, vowed that Britain will “never buckle” in the face of terrorist incidents, and condemned the “absolutely sickening” killing in Woolwich.
As the government’s emergency committee Cobra convened in central London to assess the implications of the incident, ITV News broadcast footage of one of the alleged attackers.
Brandishing a cleaver and a knife, and with the body of the victim lying yards away, the man said: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
“We must fight them. I apologise that women had to witness this today.
“But in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you.”
The man then walks away and talks to another suspected attacker.
Later footage shows the aftermath after the two suspects were shot by police.
It is believed the person died after suffering knife injuries, possibly around the head area.
Two people have been taken to hospital after they were shot by armed police.
There were reports that the man who was fatally attacked was wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt.
The Woolwich and Greenwich MP, Nick Raynsford, said it was his understanding that one person, a serving soldier, was dead but there was no immediate confirmation of this from the Ministry of Defence.
The prime minister said: “Tonight, our thoughts should be with the victim, with their family, with their friends.”
“People across Britain, people in every community, I believe, will utterly condemn this attack.
“We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country and we never buckle in the face of them.”
Cameron was speaking at a Paris press conference with French president Francois Hollande but confirmed he would cut short the visit to return to the UK tonight to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee in the morning.
Chiefs at the Woolwich barracks were understood to be trying to account for military personnel, amid reports the dead person may have been connected to the military. The incident happened 300-400 metres from the perimeter of the barracks.
The barracks is home to the Princess of Wales regiment and the Kings Troop, which is a ceremonial unit, that relocated to Woolwich last year.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the shooting by police, which is standard in cases where officers open fire.
In a statement the IPCC said it had “been made aware by Metropolitan Police Service of an incident in Woolwich, south London. IPCC investigators have been deployed to the scene and to the post-incident process. The IPCC has declared this as an independent investigation.”
Earlier Raynsford said: “The incident occurred early afternoon. One individual is dead, two others are seriously injured and in hospital.
“We think a serving soldier was the victim. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“We do know a number of weapons have been seized. They include a gun, various knives, and a machete, apparently.”