Soldier Beheaded in London During Terror Attack

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
May 22, 2013 Updated: May 22, 2013

Soldier beheaded in London: In what is being referred to as a terrorist attack, two men with butcher knives killed another in front of dozens of witnesses.

The men were shot by police after the police arrived, about 20 minutes later, according to the Telegraph, then taken into custody.

After the gruesome attack, one of the men went on video to explain the crime — shouting political statements, gesturing with bloodied hands and waving a meat cleaver. Soon after, arriving police shot and wounded the unidentified assailants and took them into custody.

The brutal daylight attack galvanized this city and raised fears that terrorism had returned to London.

Authorities did not identify the victim by name, but French President Francois Hollande referred to him as a “soldier” at a news conference in Paris with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron would not confirm that, but British media reported that the victim was wearing a shirt in support of troops and Britain’s Ministry of Defense said it was investigating whether a U.K. soldier was involved.

Calling it “an appalling murder,” Cameron said there were “strong indications” it was an act of terrorism, and two other officials said there were signs the attack was motivated by radical Islam.

The man speaking into a camera phone held by a witness said: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. Your people will never be safe. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day.”

He added that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

“Tell them to bring our troops back so we, so you can all live in peace,” he later said, in a several minute monologue.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said that the security in London is the best in the world, “and they are now going to get to the bottom of exactly what’s happened,” according to the Telegraph. There are questions as to why police took 20 minutes to arrive on the scene. People passing by said they thought the two alleged killers were helping the victim, but later realized what was happening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.