Why was a soldier brutally hacked to death in London?

At 2:20pm London time, a soldier was was attacked by crazed lunatics against an unknown soldier, targeted for what he does, not who he. Photo: the soldier lying dead, the killer, and the car

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2013 – Gesticulating with blood stained hands, gripping the meat clever and knives they used to brutally kill a London soldier, the man points to his own face as he says: “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

This attack, happening in broad daylight at 2:20pm London time, was carried out by crazed lunatics against man unknown to them, but possibly targeted for what he does.

Quickly calling the incident what it obviously is, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said it appears to be a “terrorist driven action.”

Two persons attacked the soldier, hacking at him as though he was nothing more than a “piece of meat” and with enough violence to nearly behead him, according to one witness, only identified as James, and who spoke to LBC.

The boldness of the attack is chilling. It can only be described as brutal with London Mayor Boris Johnson calling it a “sickening, deluded and unforgivable act of violence.”

The soldier was outside the Woolwich Barracks, southeast of London. The two attackers are now in critical condition in the hospital. Footage of one of the attackers, with the body of the soldier visible in the background, is seen wearing a dark hoodie and speaking with what seems to be a “British” accent. 

The Woolwich Barracks are home to the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery as well as independent companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards. The Barracks were most recently in the news as the venue where the 2012 Long Olympics shooting games were held.

As the two men hacked at their victim, spraying themselves and the area around them with blood, they allegedly shouted, “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.”

Joe Tallant, an eyewitness to the aftermath said it looked as though the attackers sought arrest, telling BBC News: “They could have gotten away but they were just walking around the body like they wanted the police to come and get them.

“They were waiting for the police, they were telling people, civilians on the street, to call the police, they wanted to get caught, they were stupid people.”

The police, upon arriving at the scene shot the attackers, one with a gun in his hand. Reports are that one of the assailants charged an arriving armed response team about 15 minutes after the killing, according to a witness.

“The black guy ran at them with a meat cleaver before it stopped and he was right by the car when they shot him,” said Julia Wilders, 51, who lived close by. The second man, who had a gun, was also shot, she said. (The Independent).

Fred Oyat, a 44-year-old who lives in a high-rise near where the attack occurred, said he heard four gunshots and then went straight to the window.

“I saw one man lying there bleeding, another lying on the pavement being disarmed. A policeman was pointing a gun at him. A third man was lying further up the street … he was bleeding profusely,” Oyat said. “There were four knives on the ground — big kitchen knives. The knives were very bloody.”

According to The Independent’s coverage, it is believed that the men waited outside the barracks of the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.

That regiment is notable as that of Sergeant Johnson Beharry, the only living recipient of Britain’s high honor of the Victory Cross medal, for action, in over thirty years. The regiment was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in 204 and Beharry received the military decoration for valor for twice-saving members of his unit from ambushes at Al-Amarah, Iraq. 

It is said that the soldier was killed in order to send a message to other Muslim soldiers to not join the British armed services. At this time neither the identify or the faith of the soldier is known.

Witnesses are saying that the soldier left the barracks only to be ambushed, first being rammed by a blue BMW car, and then attacked. Those who witnessed the attack said it seemed they were trying to behead and disembowel the soldier using kitchen knives.

Speaking to The Telegraph (London/June 209) Professor Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute warned that future generations of terrorists would emerge following the July 7, 2005, terrorist bus bombings in Tavistock Square.

“Since 2001 we have seen only the first round of the struggle,” Prof Clarke said. “Prisons around the world are universities of terror and there is no reason to believe that the UK’s will not be the same.

“The 90-odd convictions, of which the security services can be proud, will have their own longer-term consequences for which the government must be prepared.”

Prof Clarke continued, saying, “That radicalization of disaffected Muslim youths can take place in a very short period of time and that the evolution of recruitment and terrorist techniques of British cells is “entirely possible” as they learn from their mistakes.”

This is not the first time radical Islamists have threatened to behead a British soldier. Claiming retaliation for involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a group of British Pakistanis living in Birmingham, London were convicted and jailed, their leader receiving a life sentence for such a plot. 


The Associated Press reports contributed to this story.

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Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award winning journalist that began writing in 1993 following a successful career in marketing and advertising in Chicago.  She started Communities Digital News in 2009 as a way to adapt to the changing online journalism marketing place.  Jacquie is President and Managing Editor of Communities Digital News, LLC and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times Communities as well as a member of the National Association of Professional Woman, New American Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalist.  Email Jacquie here

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