Two arrested over Woolwich killing
Victim was named as Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, who had served at least once in Afghanistan
A man pays his respects outside Woolwich Barracks in London yesterday. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Two people have been arrested and six homes raided by British police investigating the brutal killing of a British soldier on the streets in east London by Muslim extremists.
A 29-year-old man and a woman of the same age, who is believed to be related to one of the two men shot by police in Woolwich on Wednesday, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
Meanwhile, the victim was named as Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who had served at least once in Afghanistan.
Described as “extremely popular and witty”, the Manchester-born Rigby was married and the father of a two-year-old son, Jack.
The two men detained in Woolwich, one of whom has been named as Michael Adebolajo, are both in a stable condition in separate hospitals and their injuries are not life-threatening.
Six houses were raided during the day: three in south London, one in east London, one in north London and one, belonging to Mr Adebolajo’s father, in Lincolnshire.
Meanwhile, officers have begun to trawl through CCTV footage gathered in Woolwich, along with information posted by witnesses online.
Today, Muslims throughout Britain will gather as normal for Friday prayers, amid fears that scores of minor attacks on mosques late Wednesday and early yesterday could escalate.
However, prime minister David Cameron issued pointed declarations for calm, saying the attack was “a betrayal” of Islam and of the Muslim communities “who give so much to our country”.
Mainstream Muslim organisations condemned the Woolwich atrocity, with the Muslim Council of Britain saying it was “dishonourable”.
Adebolajo and his unnamed companion had come to the attention of British intelligence services in recent years, but had not been regarded as imminent threats. The 29-year-old Adebolajo, raised as a Christian to Nigerian parents, had converted to Islam as a teenager, becoming more radical as time went on. Having joined an extremist organisation, the now banned al-Muhajiroun, he took part in a number of public demonstrations about British policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last night, one of the leaders of al-Muhajiroun, Anjem Choudary, refused to apologise for any role that he played in converting Adebolajo to extreme views.
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said questions will have to be asked about Islamic extremism but “it is very, very important that we don’t blame the religion of Islam”.