Theresa May calls a meeting of Government emergency committee CobraSoldier attacked with meat cleavers and knives in Woolwich, SE London Eyewitness says: 'They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him'Two suspects waited until police arrived before trying to attack themPrime Minister David Cameron described the killing as 'truly shocking'Suspects used 'a number of weapons' in their attack, police say
Two men allegedly hacked a soldier to death while shouting 'God is great' in Arabic before being shot by police marksmen in a London street today.
Terrified eyewitnesses told how the victim was subject to a sustained and brutal attack by the armed men after a car crash just 200 yards from Woolwich Barracks in south-east London.
Theresa May tonight called a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee in response to the machete and knife attack on the man who was wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt.
The Home Secretary said she had been briefed on the killing by the head of MI5 and police later confirmed they were treating the incident as a possible terror attack.
The two men who carried out the attack apparently shouted 'Allahu Akbar', which means 'God is great' in Arabic, and tried to film the attack, the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said.
It is thought that the two men waited around for 20 minutes until police arrived and then tried to attack them - but were swiftly shot by armed officers including one woman.
Eyewitnesses said the 'crazed' men, aged in their 20s, launched a ferocious attack and were 'hacking at him, chopping him and cutting him.'
Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter that 'the killing in Woolwich is truly shocking - I have asked the Home Secretary to chair a Cobra meeting.'
This afternoon the area’s MP, Nick Raynsford, told BBC Radio 5 Live he believed the victim, a man aged in his 20s, was a serving soldier.
The man is believed to have been hacked to death after a car crash. The scene of the attack is just 200 yards from Woolwich Barracks.
Mr Raynsford said: '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.
'The police clearly had to take action in order to try and arrest these individuals.'
The Ministry of Defence said it was urgently looking at the reports that the incident involved a soldier but had no further comment.
Footage from a television news helicopter showed a large collection of weapons lying in the street in Woolwich following the incident.
A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said one man had died at the scene.
He said: 'Our staff treated two others. Both men were taken to hospital, one of them is in a serious condition, the other is not.'
One witness, identified as James, said he and his partner saw two black men attack the young victim with knives, including a meat cleaver.
'They were hacking at this poor guy, literally,' he told LBC. 'They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him.
'These two guys were crazed,' he told the radio station. 'They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.'
Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford confirmed tonight that the two attackers were shot by armed officers.
He said in a statement: 'At approximately 1420 we were called to reports of an assault in John Wilson Street, Woolwich, where one man was being assaulted by two other men.
'A number of weapons were reportedly being used in the attack, and this included reports of a firearm.
'Officers including local Greenwich officers arrived at the scene and shortly after firearms officers arrived on the scene.
'On their arrival at the scene they found a man, who was later pronounced dead. At this early stage I am unable to provide any further information about the man who has died.
'Two men, who we believe from early reports to have been carrying weapons, were shot by police. They were taken to separate London hospitals. They are receiving treatment for their injuries.
'I can understand that this incident will cause community concerns and I would like to reiterate that we are investigating what has taken place today.
The incident occurred near the Royal Artillery Barracks, adjacent to Woolwich Common, the historical home of the Royal Artillery.
The barracks, also known as the Woolwich station, now houses a number of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and independent companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards.
Woolwich Common remains a designated military training area. The shooting events at the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held at a temporary venue at the Barracks.
Luke Huseyin, 32, who lives in a block of flats on John Wilson Street, Woolwich, close to where the incident happened said he watched two men murder a man before being shot.
He said: 'I was at home and heard a big bang. I looked out of the window and saw a car had crashed.
'It was a blue Vauxhall. Then two black guys got out of the car dragging a white guy across the road towards the wall. One of the guys had a knife that looked about a foot long and a machete and the other bloke had a gun.
'They started slashing him up with the knife and hitting him in the stomach with the machete. I don't think it took long before he was dead. There were people passing by who were screaming and running away. I've never seen anything like it.
'I'm still really shaken up. When he was dead, they dragged him out into the road and left him there.
'It was strange, they didn't run off, they just stood there as if they were waiting for the police.
'It must've taken about 20 minutes for the police to arrive, I think it must've been because they were waiting for armed police.
'The police officers got out of the car and the two black men ran towards them with the gun.
'The police shot them. They fell to the ground. Then a helicopter landed. Think it must've been an air ambulance.
'The paramedics got out and I think they were working on the two men to try and keep them alive.
'I don't know if they died, they were taken away in the helicopter. A blanket was put over the white guy lying in the road. 'I just can't believe what I saw.'
Mother-of-four Julia Wilders, 51, said she was travelling past the scene and saw two men hacking at a man with meat cleavers.
'Graham was driving and we drove past the car which was up against a lamp post.
'There were two black guys that looked like they were trying to resuscitate a white guy on the floor. I thought there'd been an accident.
'But then I saw they were using meat cleavers to hack him up. We live just behind where it happened and once we got back we walked back to have a look and that's when I saw one of the black guys pull
'My husband screamed at me to get back. I was petrified. As I was running back I saw the police pull up and the black guy was running towards the police car and they shot him.
'I didn't see anything else, I just run back home.'
David Dixon is the headteacher of Mulgrave Primary School, which is located about 50 metres from the scene of the incident. He saw a body in the road after realising something was happening and immediately locked down the school.
He said: ‘It was at the end of our road. As soon as we realised it was serious I went to see what had happened and then told staff to lock down the school and get the children inside. I spoke to police to ask what we should do.
‘There seemed to be a body in the middle of the road. The traffic was backed up and the police were on the scene.
As the EDL lace up their heavy-set boots and head for the streets of Woolwich, their leader, metaphorically carrying with him his long list of criminal convictions, will be preparing his fascist propaganda.
Tommy Robinson and his followers (the phrase “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” comes to mind) are intent on running Islam and its teachings out of the country and are using criminal acts from Muslims as evidence for their cause. Their next stop is set for Woolwich, following the death of a man and the broadcast of an ITV video showing a bloodied man claiming to be fighting for Allah.
The militant anti-Islamic today ordered the march toward Woolwich, exactly three months after he was released from prison for possessing a fake passport following the killing of an alleged British soldier in a suspected jihadist attack - note the words ‘suspected’, the motives of the attack have not, as yet, been confirmed
I’m sorry, Mr Robinson, but I think you’ll find the problem isn’t with Islam. You see, the real issue here is with extremism and you pointing at every news story involving a Muslim and shouting “SEE! I TOLD YOU” isn’t going to cut it.
Islamic terrorist attacks account for fewer than 100 deaths in the UK – which, of course, is too many. But, in recent years, we've seen the IRA apologise for the death of 1,800 “non-combatants” alone, I can guarantee the knuckle-draggers won’t be chasing Paddy down the road on St Patrick’s day.
Lest we forget that Anders Breivik, a Christian, killed 69 people – mostly teenagers – on and around the island of Utøya, Norway and the many, many school shootings by mostly white, non-Muslim people in the United States.
At no point in this piece do I intend to protect any murder or act of terrorism, but we should certainly not tar an entire religion with a brush as a result of the sinister actions of a few.
The EDL are claiming that since the attack took place, their Facebook page has had over 3,000 new ‘likes’ – do not be one of those people, you’re only giving credence to an organisation dedicated to the hatred of an entire sect of people. The group would have you believe that each and every practicing Muslim will behead you, hanging a St Georges Cross from your roof – it’s not true, I promise.
And, I’m sure, EDL-apologists around the country will claim I’m a journalist, paid by the government to keep acts of violence by Muslims quiet. Were that true, I’d have many more pairs of nicer trainers, I promise you.
At the time of writing this column, too few details exist to write a well-rounded opinion piece on the Woolwich situation, but the furore the EDL is creating on Twitter is unsettling. As we speak, the tweet from the fascist group’s official Twitter account, which calls its members to arms, has over 775 retweets, considerably more than my own which intended to warn the police of possible violence (a measly 17).
So don’t blindly follow the first man who gives you someone (or a group of millions) to blame, for he himself is spinning you a yarn and recruiting for the hopeful fruition of his sinister ideals.
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