London Suspect, Bloody and Holding a Cleaver, Talks to Camera

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 22 2013 3:04 PM

London Terror Suspect, Bloody and Holding a Cleaver, Talks to the Camera

It is unclear who recorded the footage of the man believed to be the suspect in the gruesome murder.

Screenshot from video obtained by ITV.

A gruesome scene unfolded on a London street today when two men killed a man believed to be a British soldier in what police have described as a "frenzied machete attack," and Prime Minister David Cameron suggested appeared to be an act of terrorism. The BBC, as you'd expect, has nearly wall-to-wall coverage of the incident, which you can find here.

At the moment, concrete details of the attack itself are pretty hard to come by, but eye witnesses have painted a particularly disturbing and bloody scene. Several have suggested that the attackers first ran down the man with their car and then attempted to behead him. Here's CNN with a few more details:

Witnesses told of a gruesome scene in which the man was hit by a car, then hacked with cleavers and his body dumped in the middle of the road. ... CNN affiliate ITN aired a video showing a man holding a meat cleaver and saying, "we swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you."

According to the Associated Press, London police say that armed officers responded to the scene, which was only a few blocks from the Royal Artillery Barracks in southeast London. Commander Simon Letchford said that the victim was dead when police arrived, and that the officers opened fire and shot the two suspects, who appear to have been armed and in no hurry to flee. The suspects survived and were taken to separate area hospitals for treatment. One of the men is said to be in serious condition. In a press conference in Paris, Cameron said that there were "strong indications" that the attack was terror-related, a preliminary analysis echoed by a number of other government officials. Cameron is cutting his French trip short and is returning to London in the wake of the incident.

UPDATE: Here's a portion of that video footage mentioned above. In it, the suspect says: “We apologize that women had to see this today, but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don’t care about you." (Warning: It's as difficult to watch as you'd expect from the description.)

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 


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