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'We Will Never Give In To Terror,' Britain's Cameron Vows
Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 1:38 pm
(Most recent update: 1:30 p.m. ET.)
One day after a British soldier was hacked to death on a busy southeast London street by two men who were heard claiming that they wanted to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Prime Minister David Cameron declared Thursday that "we will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms."
Reuters adds that Cameron also said, "this country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror."
We're also learning more about the horrific incident near an army barracks in Woolwich and the heroism of some witnesses.
It began, authorities say, when the attackers apparently used a car to run down the soldier. Witnesses say the two men then got out of the vehicle and began stabbing and cutting the victim. When they finished the attack, the men then stayed nearby and started telling bystanders that they were avenging the deaths of Muslims killed by British soldiers.
The Telegraph interviewed Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old Cub Scout leader and mother-of-two who "put her own life on the line by trying to persuade the soldier's murderers to hand over their weapons."
She tells the Telegraph that she was in a bus that passed by the scene and got off because she thought the soldier had been injured in a car accident and might need her help.
"And then when I went up, there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife," Loyau-Kennett told the newspaper. The man, she says, "had what looked like butcher's tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives and he said 'move off the body.' "
According to Loyau-Kennett, she told the man that, "right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?" She says he responded that he would like to stay and fight.
When armed police arrived — 15 to 20 minutes after the attack — they ended up shooting and wounding the two men.
The Telegraph writes that "Mrs. Loyau-Kennett was not the only woman to show extraordinary courage. Others shielded the soldier's body as the killers stood over them. MPs praised the 'extraordinary bravery' of the women."
As we reported Wednesday, there's a considerable amount of video evidence from the scene because the attackers willingly spoke to people who were on the street.
On Morning Edition, NPR's Philip Reeves told host Renee Montagne that as police investigate the attack, they're anxious to find out if there's "an organization behind these two guys." Judging from the way the men waited at the scene, Phil added, it appears they didn't care "if they were caught or if they died."
Also Thursday morning, the BBC is reporting that "there were two separate attacks on mosques [overnight] — in Gillingham and Essex. Two men are under arrest."
Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. Two More Arrests:
A 29-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were arrested Thursday "on suspicion of conspiracy to murder" in connection to the soldier's killing, Scotland Yard announced just a few minutes ago on its Twitter page. So four people, including the two men arrested at the scene on Wednesday, are now in custody.
In addition, writes The Guardian, police say they have searched six residences in or around London today.
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Soldier Identified.
According to a statement from Britain's Ministry of Defense, the murdered soldier was a 25-year-old drummer with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers:
"Drummer Lee Rigby or 'Riggers' to his friends was born in July 1987 in Crumpsall, Manchester. He joined the Army in 2006 and on successful completion of his infantry training course at Infantry Training Centre Catterick was selected to be a member of the Corps of Drums and posted to 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (also known as the 'Second Fusiliers' or '2 RRF').
"His first posting was as a machine gunner in Cyprus where the battalion was serving as the resident infantry battalion in Dhekelia. Having performed a plethora of tasks while in Cyprus, he returned to the U.K. in the early part of 2008 to Hounslow, West London. Here, Drummer Rigby stood proudly outside the Royal Palaces as part of the Battalion's public duties commitment. He was an integral member of the Corps of Drums throughout the Battalion's time on public duties, the highlight of which was being a part of the Household Division's Beating the Retreat — a real honour for a line infantry Corps of Drums.
"In April 2009, Drummer Rigby deployed on Operations for the first time to Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he served as a member of the Fire Support Group in Patrol Base Woqab. On returning to the U.K. he completed a second tour of public duties and then moved with the Battalion to Celle, Germany, to be held at a state of high readiness for contingency operations as part of the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group.
"In 2011, Drummer Rigby took up a Recruiting post in London where he also assisted with duties at Regimental Headquarters in the Tower of London.
"An extremely popular and witty soldier, Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers. He was a passionate and life-long Manchester United fan.
"A loving father to his son Jack, aged 2 years, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The Regiment's thoughts and prayers are with his family during this extremely difficult time. 'Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier.' "