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Soldier killed on London street; terrorist suspect filmed with cleaver, knife

AFP/Getty Images
A police forensics officer takes photographs on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 inside a cordoned off area in Woolwich, east London, in which an incident in which one man was killed and two others seruiously injured.

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By Reuters
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

LONDON — A British soldier was hacked to death by two men shouting Islamic rhetoric in a south London street on Wednesday, in what the government said appeared to be a terrorist attack.

A dramatic clip filmed by an onlooker just minutes after the killing showed a man with hands covered in blood, brandishing a bloodied meat cleaver and a knife.

“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day,” the black man in his 20s or 30s, wearing a wool jacket and jeans and speaking with a local accent, shouted in the footage obtained by Britain's ITV news channel.

“This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

The attack was the first apparent Islamist killing in London since suicide bombers struck transport in July 2005. The capital was shocked by the bizarre scene of a killer covered in gore, declaring his motive to onlookers.

Police shot the two suspects while trying to arrest them, and the wounded men were taken into custody. No information was released about the identity of the suspects, but two sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters that authorities were investigating a possible link to Nigeria.

“We apologize that women had to see this today, but in our lands our women have to see the same,” the attacker said. “You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don't care about you,” the videotaped man said before crossing the street and speaking casually to the other attacker.

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a visit to France to return to London and chair an emergency national security meeting.

“The police are urgently seeking the full facts about this case, but there are strong indications that it is a terrorist incident,” Cameron said.

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