The two Islamist terrorists who hacked a British soldier to death on a London street Wednesday, May 22, chanting Allahu Akbar, were born in Britain of Nigerian descent and known to British security authorities. Motivated by revenge for Muslim deaths in Afghanistan, they selected as their victim a soldier from the Woolwich barracks who had served there. One of the terrorists was identified as Michael Adebolajo, 28, a convert to Islam and self-styled Muslim preacher from a street stand, from which he handed out leaflets condemning the British government and troops fighting in Muslim lands.
His stand was located in the southeastern London suburb of Woolwich, not far from the Royal Artillery barracks near which he committed his savage murder.
Adelbolajo’s crime was long planned. He spent time watching the soldiers coming and going around the barracks. He may even have singled out his victim from a chance acquaintance.
Thursday, the day after the murder, British anti-terrorist operatives carried out searches at various London addresses which the terrorist had used as a student at Greenwich University.
The British authorities have made no statements about arrests or even the interrogation of either of the two terrorists, who are in separate hospitals recovering from police gunshots.
Neither have they revealed why the accumulation of carving knives, a machete and a firearm in their possession never attracted notice. The police are also extremely cagey about the two men’s friends and contacts. As in the case of the Boston Marathon bombing, the relevant information began seeping out by chance much later.
The extreme savagery of the killing in broad daylight on a busy London street, culminating in a beheading, recalled the fate of Western hostages at the hands of Al Qaeda’s Iraq commander Musab al-Zarqawi in the years between 2004 and 2006. His custom of beheading victims became a hallmark of al Qaeda savagery.