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Woolwich Attack: Two Men Arrested

Wednesday 22nd May 2013

A major police investigation is underway in Woolwich after a knife attack and double shooting in the middle of a street, which is being treated as an act of terrorism.

Picture: @M_ATLEY

Eyewitnesses claimed that a man wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt was attacked by two men armed with a machete-style knife among other weapons -  the suspects were then shot by armed officers and are being treated in hospital.

Woolwich and Greenwich MP Nick Raynsford had told LBC 97.3 it is his understanding that the deceased is a serving soldier - which was later confirmed.

In footage obtained by ITV one of the men was filmed wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and saying, "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you."

The black man, dressed in a grey hooded jacket and black woolly hat, went on to apologise to those who witnessed the attack.

"We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," he is heard to say.

"I apologise that women have 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." 

Commander Simon Letchford, speaking in Woolwich, said that officers were called out to reports of an assault in John Wilson Street at aound 2.20pm.

"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," he explained.

"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.

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."

Eyewitness James told LBC 97.3's Iain Dale the incident has left him and his wife in shock.

"These two guys were crazy, they just were not there they were just animals," he explained.

"They dragged the poor guy - he was obviously dead, there was no way a human could take what they did to him. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."

Listen to James' account>>

Lauren also witnessed the attack and claimed that the man was targeted because he was wearing the charity top.

"I went and spoke to police officers," she explained to LBC's Iain Dale. "I was told that there was a guy who was wearing a Help For Heroes t-shirt and they targeted him for this and they asked people to take pictures of them with the body of this young man."

She is one of several eyewitnesses to have claimed that the attackers asked to have their picture taken with the victim.

Lauren also described how women surrounded the body of the deceased in order to prevent it being photographed.

Listen to Lauren's account>>

The Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed she has been briefed by the Director General of the Security Service MI5 on the "sickening and barbaric" incident in Woolwich.

"I have been briefed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Director General of the Security Service.

"It has been confirmed to me that a man has been brutally murdered this afternoon in south east London. Two other men were shot by armed police and they are currently receiving treatment for their injuries.

"I have called a COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Room) meeting where I will receive further briefing. This is a sickening and barbaric attack."

Security has now been tightened at army barracks in Woolwich and around the country.

David Cameron has described the killing of a man as "truly shocking" and has confirmed he is returning from Europe.

The Prime Minister said Britain has faced terror attacks such as the one in Woolwich before and added: "We will never buckle in the face of it."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called it a "sickening, deluded and unforgivable act of violence".

Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of The Royal Borough of Greenwich said they were "deeply shocked" adding, "our thoughts are with the family of the victim.

“Greenwich is a borough whose history and evolution is intertwined with military, both army and navy and any attack by the Barracks feels like a strike at the heart of our community.

“The Council will assist the police with their investigations and provide any support requested of us."

Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe has confirmed that two men have been arrested. 

Get the latest on the Woolwich attack>>  

*Warning some people may find the image below distressing*

Picture: @BietLe_/National news


The scene in Woolwich. Picture: @BietLe_