Woolwich terror killing: Security services face probe

The British parliament is to investigate if security services could have done more to prevent the murder of a soldier hacked to death in a London street after it emerged that his suspected killers were known to intelligence officers.

The ad hoc shrine at the site of the killing where Lee Rigby was hacked to death. Picture: PA
The ad hoc shrine at the site of the killing where Lee Rigby was hacked to death. Picture: PA

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are under guard in hospital after being shot and arrested by police after the murder of 25-year-old Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby on Wednesday. They have not yet been charged.

Adebolajo, filmed justifying the killing as he stood near the body holding a knife and meat cleaver, was born in Britain to a Nigerian family. Adebowale is a naturalised British citizen born in Nigeria.

Two women arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder Rigby have been released without charge.

Detectives are continuing to question a 29-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

A stream of wellwishers continued to lay flowers near the scene of the murder, with bouquets numbering in their thousands.

British prime minister David Cameron said a parliamentary committee would investigate the role of the security services. The MI5 domestic spy agency had been aware of the men, but neither was considered a threat, a government source told Reuters.

The attack will increase attention on radical organisations such as Al Muhajiroun, which organises provocative demonstrations against British troops and was banned in 2010.

Adebolajo, who converted to Islam and took the name “Mujahid” — warrior — attended lectures by radical Islamist Omar Bakri, who was banished from Britain in 2005. In Lebanon, Bakri praised the attack.

“I used to know him. A quiet man, very shy, asking lots of questions about Islam. It’s incredible. When I saw that, honestly I was very surprised — standing firm, courageous, brave. Not running away.”

Sources have said no sign has emerged of direct links between the attack and an Islamist insurgency in Nigeria.

— Reuters

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