Peres writes to the Queen after UK soldier's murder

Cameron calls brutal killing a betrayal of Islam, says UK will not give in to terror; British Muslim community condemn attack.

By JONNY PAUL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
May 23, 2013 14:49
4 minute read.
A police forensics officer investigates a crime scene where one man was killed in Woolwich, London

British murder scene 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday urged against “knee-jerk responses” to Wednesday’s Islamist terror attack on a London street, after several mosques were targeted on Wednesday night.

The British Ministry of Defense named the victim of the horrific attack in east London’s Woolwich as 25- year-old Drummer Lee Rigby, from Middleton in Greater Manchester.

The father of a two-year-old boy served two tours in Afghanistan with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, a two-battalion infantry regiment.

Government officials said on Thursday that both suspects in the machete attack that has shocked the nation were known to security services and had featured in previous investigations by authorities.

Police said that both were British born and of Nigerian descent, and that one of them was stopped from leaving the country for Somalia to join al-Shabaab terrorists.

One of the suspects was named as Michael Adebolajo, 28, a south London-born university graduate who reportedly became radicalized during the Second Gulf War that began in 2003. He was filmed, wielding a bloodied knife, by a passer-by shortly after the attack.

Both remain hospitalized under heavy guard after being shot by police in the aftermath of the attack.

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the banned Islamic group al-Muhajiroun, said he knew one of the attackers but had not seen him for about two years.

Speaking after a meeting of the Cobra security committee on Thursday, Cameron said that Britain is absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror.

“We will never give in to terror – or terrorism – in any of its forms,” he said, adding that there is nothing in Islam that justified “this truly dreadful act.”

He added: “This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.”

The prime minister said that confronting extremism is a job for us all.

“Terrorism has taken more Muslim lives than any other religion. It is an utter perversion of the truth to pretend anything different. That is why there is absolutely no justification for these acts and the fault for them lies solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack,” Cameron said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson vowed that the perpetrators of the terror attack will “be brought speedily to justice” and told Londoners to go about their normal lives.

On Thursday, police authorities searched several locations to determine if the men were part of a wider plot to instill terror on the streets of London.

Across the city 1,200 extra police officers were placed on duty in response to the attacks, Assistant Police Commissioner Simon Byrne said.

The two suspects were seen by witnesses to deliberately drive their car at the victim, before getting out and hacking the off-duty soldier to death while horrified bystanders watched.

They then boasted of their exploits and warned of more violence in images recorded on witnesses’ mobile phones. Holding bloody knives and a meat cleaver, they waited for the arrival of police.

The website of Help For Heroes, a charity set up to help those wounded in conflict, temporarily crashed after donors clambering to show solidarity with the victim, made a high volume of donations to the military charity.

On Wednesday night members of the far-right English Defense League clashed with police in Woolwich.

Mosques in Woolwich, Braintree in Essex and Gillingham in Kent were also attacked. One man and one woman, both aged 29, were arrested in connection to the attacks.

Muslim groups were quick to condemn the brutal murder on Wednesday and urged police to calm tensions.

The Muslim Council of Britain called it a “barbaric act that has no basis in Islam,” adding that “no cause justifies this murder.”

The British and Israeli people are united in their battle against terror, Britain’s Foreign Minister William Hague told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday.

“We know the importance of defeating terrorism. That is well understood here in Israel as well,” Hague told Netanyahu before their meeting.

Netanyahu said he wanted to express his solidarity and that of the Israeli people following the attack.

“We wish to send condolences to the family and to the people of Britain,” Netanyahu said.“We’ve experienced such horrors here, and we sympathize deeply. We both are facing this battle against this savagery and this terrorism in our own countries and throughout the world,” he said.

Hague thanked him for his well wishes.

“As our prime minister has said this morning, we will never give in to terror in the UK,” Hague said.

Separately, President Shimon Peres sent a letter to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

“I was deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the terrible attack yesterday in London. It was an act of horrific brutality,” Peres wrote. “In my name and on behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the family of the victim and the people of Britain.

“Terrorism is a global threat and one the world must face together. I know that the people of Britain will stand strong in the face of this threat and the State of Israel stands side by side with them,” the president wrote.


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