British authorities want to know if two men who hacked a British soldier to death outside an army barracks in London Wednesday were part of a wider terror plot.
Witnesses to the gruesome attack say the men shouted "allahu akbar" before running over the victim and then savagely stabbing him with butcher knives.
"The guy was already dead in the road," eyewitness Jamie France said. "But that's when I saw the other guy with the axe and a gun. Then after that I was looking out for about 20 minutes before the police came."
After the killing, one of the suspects approached bystanders with bloody hands and a chilling message: "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you."
The killers called the attack an "eye for an eye," accusing British soldiers of killing Muslims overseas. Police shot and wounded both men, who were later taken to nearby hospitals.
Authorities say one of the suspects, Michael Adebolajo, was born in Britain and raised a Christian but converted to Islam in 2003. He changed his name to "Mujahid" which means "one who wages jihad."
The London Evening Standard reports that detectives are investigating whether Adebolajo was radicalized after attending meetings of al-Muhajiroun, a group known for praising the 9/11 hijackers and encouraging young men to follow their example.
Web Extra: In Suspect's Own Words
"The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Shari'a in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones that when you drop a bomb you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? This is the reality. By Allah if I saw your mother today with a buggy I would help her up the stairs. This is my nature. But we are forced by the Qur'an, in Sura At-Tawba, through many ayah in the Qu'ran, we must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so can all live in peace. So leave our lands and we can all live in peace. That’s all I have to say. [in Arabic:] Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you."
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has called the attack an act of terrorism, and police are now searching several locations, trying to determine if the suspects were part of a wider plot.
***Was Wednesday's attack an isolated incident or something more sinister? CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck addressed that question and more on Newswatch, May 23.
"The people who did this were trying to divide us," Cameron said. "They should know something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger."
Cameron also hailed Ingrid Loyau Kennett, the woman who confronted the suspect and may have saved lives.
When asked by a reporter why she intervened, Kennett replied, "Better me than a child because, unfortunately, there were more and more mothers with children stopped around. So it was even more and more important that I talk to him and then ask him what he wanted."
Read more about how the brave mother of two put her own life on the line by trying to persuade the murderers to hand over their weapons.
The prime minister lauded Kennett's bravery, vowing the country will not be cowed by the violence.
"When told by the attacker he wanted to start a war in London she replied, 'You are going to lose. It is only you against many.' She spoke for us all," Cameron said.