VIDEO: British soldier hacked to death on busy London street
This startling screengrab shows a man thought to have been involved in the beheading of a British soldier on a busy London street Wednesday.
Broadcast by Britain’s ITN network, the image was taken from a video taken at the scene of the slaughter.
Speaking with a London accent, the man says to the camera: “I apologize that women had to witness this today, but in our country our women see this happening all the time.”
In other parts of the video, said to be too shocking to show, it is claimed he says: “This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Then he walked back to the prone body of the victim, which by this stage was being protected by three women.
The British government has called an emergency meeting of its highest-level antiterrorism task force after the serving soldier was hacked to death.
The soldier, who witnesses said wore a T-shirt supporting Help for Heroes, the charity that raises funds for injured U.K. service members, was attacked by two men near the Woolwich Barracks area of London. British military units are based at the barracks.
The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that the man was first hit by a car driven by two men, after which they attacked him with knives and machetes. Witnesses said attempts were made to behead the soldier.
The attackers were said to have waited for 20 minutes while specially armed units of London’s metropolitan police service arrived. The men then attacked police officers and were shot, reports said. Latest reports say both are in local hospitals, at least one of them in a serious condition.
The calling of a meeting of the U.K.’s Cobra committee is a strong indication that the British government regards the attack as terror-related. Islamic fundamentalists have long threatened to attack British service personnel in a guerilla-style incident. Terrorist videos have also featured British Muslims threatening to behead a U.K. soldier if they got the chance.
Nick Robinson, political editor of the British Broadcasting Corporation, confirmed the British government was treating the attack as terror-related.
The attackers shouted, “Allahu Akhbar,” Arabic for “God is great” during the attack and in the confrontation with police, according to witnesses.
A witness named James told London’s LBC radio: “We saw clearly two knives, meat cleavers. They were big kitchen knives like you would use in a butcher’s. They were hacking at this poor guy. We thought they were trying to remove organs from him.
“These two guys were crazed, they were not there, they were just animals. They then dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road.
“They took 20 minutes to arrive, the police — the armed response.
“There was only a few people at first, then traffic began to build up because people were getting out of their cars to shout at them. They were taking no notice, they were standing there, I think they were proud of what they were doing.
“When they dumped the body in the road, these two black guys had the opportunity to hurt other people if they wanted to because there were brave women with the dead guy on the floor. They were shielding and covering him. The attackers with the knives were standing over these women.”
Other witnesses said that as the two attackers waited for police to arrive, they taunted passengers on a nearby London bus, asking them to take their photograph using their cellphones.
Just yards away from the scene is an elementary school, which was immediately put into lockdown.
Last night it was confirmed that British Prime Minister David Cameron was returning to the country from an official visit to France in response to the incident.