Q&A: What is known about London attack

AP News
Posted: May 23, 2013 3:23 PM
Q&A: What is known about London attack

A look at the key known facts about attack in south London in which two men killed a British soldier near military barracks Wednesday.

Q: What happened?

A: Two men with butcher knives, a machete and a meat cleaver attacked and killed a soldier near military barracks in the south London neighborhood of Woolwich. Two U.K. government officials told the AP the attack seemed to have been ideologically motivated by radical Islam, adding that the assessment wasn't based solely on video footage of one suspect making political statements against the British government. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation.

Q: Who are the suspects?

A: Police have not identified the suspects, who are hospitalized in stable condition after being shot by police arriving at the scene. However, one of the suspects has been identified as Michael Adebolajo, a Christian who converted to Islam around 2003. He was identified by two Muslim figures who said he was the man who appeared in several videos made in the minutes after the killing.

"We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you," the man identified as Adebolajo said with a British accent as a cellphone camera filmed him. "We must fight them as they fight us."

Q: Were the two men acting alone?

A: Details are sketchy, but police arrested a man and a woman, both aged 29, on Thursday evening as part of the investigation. They are being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. None of the suspects' names have been released and they haven't been charged.

Q: Where is Woolwich?

A: Woolwich is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Trafalgar Square in central London. The attack happened a few blocks from the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Q: Was it terrorism?

A: Britain's prime minister said there are "strong indications" the attack was an act of terrorism, and other officials have indicated it was inspired by radical Islam.

Q: Who was the victim?

A: Britain's defense ministry said the soldier killed was Lee Rigby, of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Rigby, who was 25 and had a 2-year-old son, served in Afghanistan in 2009. He was also a drummer who participated in public duties at royal palaces in Britain. He was born in Manchester in northern England and was a lifelong fan of the Manchester United soccer team.

Q: What about bystanders?

A: There were many bystanders at the time of the attack. The two suspects spoke to several of them. In footage taken by people on the street and obtained by ITV news and The Sun newspaper, one of the suspects apologized that female passers-by "have had to witness this" barbarity, saying that "in our land our women have to see the same."

Vote Against America, Vote Democrat
Michael Reagan

A woman engaged one of the attackers. The Daily Telegraph identified the woman as Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, and said she confronted the attackers, telling them: "It is only you versus many people. You are going to lose." Saying she wanted to stop the suspect from attacking anyone else, she asked him if he "did it" and what he wanted.

"He said: 'I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan. They have nothing to do there,'" she told the newspaper.

Q: What else did the video show?

A: Footage showed a man in a dark jacket and knit cap walking toward a camera, clutching a meat cleaver and a knife. He urged the government to "bring our troops back." British troops are deployed in Afghanistan and recently supported the French-led intervention in Mali.