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London Attack Deemed Likely Terrorist Incident

Police and forensic officers near the scene of Wednesday's brutal attack.
Alastair Grant
Associated Press
Police and forensic officers near the scene of Wednesday's brutal attack.

A man has been killed in what reports described as a machete attack in London, and police have shot two suspects in what British Prime Minister David Cameron says is likely a terrorist incident.

The Associated Press says the incident occurred Wednesday when the suspects attacked the man near a London military barracks. The BBC called the weapon used a machete, but the AP said footage it obtained from ITV news "showed a man in a dark jacket and knit cap walking toward a camera, clutching a meat cleaver and a knife in what appear to be bloodied hands."

[We've included an ITV video report below, but we should warn you that it might be too graphic for some readers.]

The BBC reports that the man shouted: "We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

"He added: 'I apologize that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don't care about you.'"

Cameron, at a news conference in Paris with French President Francois Hollande, called the attack "the most appalling crime" and said there are "strong indications" that it is a terrorist incident, according to AP.

London Mayor Boris Johnson was quoted by Reuters as saying the attack was "overwhelmingly likely" a terrorist incident.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET. Suspects Taken To Hospital

The BBC reports that the two suspects who were shot have been taken to the hospital, one by helicopter.

The radio network quoted one witness, identified as James, as saying:

" ... two men had attacked another man, aged about 20, who was wearing a T-shirt of military charity Help for Heroes.

"These two guys were crazed. They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there," he told LBC radio.

He said after the 'horrendous' attack, the two men, who were also in their 20s, stood around, waving knives and a gun, and asked people to take pictures of them 'as if they wanted to be on TV or something'.

'They were oblivious to anything, they were more worried about having their photo taken, running up and down the road,' he said."

Update at 4:50 p.m. ET. Victim Reportedly A British Soldier

Reuters reports that the victim was a British soldier who was "hacked to death" by two men shouting Islamic slogans.

The news agency says:

"The attackers pounced on the victim in broad daylight in a street in the southeast district of Woolwich near an army barracks.

After making his remarks in the video, the man with the bloody knives walked back to the scene and spoke to the other attacker casually.

Media quoted witnesses as saying the attackers had shouted 'God is greatest' in Arabic while stabbing the victim, whom they tried to behead."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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