A woman confronts one of the attackers. In his left hand is a long knife A woman confronts one of the attackers. In his left hand is a long knife

Three women shield the dead soldier's body Three women shield the dead soldier's body

Members of the British parliament last night called for the nation's highest bravery awards to be handed to a group of women who shielded the body of a soldier after he was beheaded in a gruesome terrorist attack in London today.

 

The women covered the dead man's body while two men, thought to be Islamic terrorists, and who had seconds earlier killed the soldier, stood close by threatening the women.

The women refused to back off even as the killers waved machetes, a knife and a gun at them, according to witnesses.

A new image emerged tonight that showed one woman confronting one of the terrorists. In his left hand is what appears to be a very large kitchen knife. Twitter users who took the image named the woman as Ingrid Loyau-Kennett and said she was trying to distract the man until the police arrived. Her name could not be independently verified tonight.

The men later recorded a video at the scene, blaming the slaying on Western interference in Muslim countries. Although the men spoke with London accents, it was speculated last night that they were of Somali or eastern African origin.

The hunt was on last night to identify the woman as it also emerged that the specially-armed police officer who took down one of the attackers by firing the first shot, was one of a handful of female officers in London police's elite armed unit.

Patrick Mercer, a member of parliament and a former British Army officer, said: "This is courage of the highest order, it sounds as if these members of the public are not soldiers, not policemen, not people whose duties demand this, they are extremely courageous people and that courage deserves to be recognized at the highest level.”

Another MP, Keith Vaz, told the Telegraph newspaper: "I think what they have done is extraordinarily brave and courageous. It shows the spirit of London that people are just not prepared to allow an attack of this kind. I pay tribute to what they have done."

Meanwhile Twitter user Boya Dee, who witnessed the incident described how the female armed officer fired the first shot.

"The first guy goes for the female fed with the machete and she not even ramping. She took the man out like robocop. Never seen nutn like it." he tweeted.

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