Hands soaked in blood, London knifeman declares his creed on video

Last Updated 04 May 2018, 10:34 IST

A young man with bloodied hands holds a knife and a meat cleaver soaked in blood as he faces the camera to say he has just killed a soldier on a London street in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims killed by British troops in faraway lands.

As the man speaks, a woman in a blue skirt pulls a shopping cart down the pavement towards him, glances briefly in the direction of a corpse lying in the road, and walks right past the man, apparently oblivious to the bloody weapons in his hand.

"The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," the man says to the camera, speaking in a London accent.

The astonishing footage shows the moments after a soldier was hacked to death in broad daylight on Wednesday in Woolwich, southeast London, in an attack the government is treating as a terrorist incident.

The video was filmed by a passer-by at the murder scene and was obtained minutes later by British channel ITV. It is now widely available on the Internet.

"When he saw me filming, he came straight to me and said 'No, no, no, it's cool. I just want to talk to you,'", the man who made the film told ITV. He did not wish to be identified.

The one-of-a-kind video appeared to have raised different questions in the minds of media editors, who handled it in a variety of ways.

On the ITV website was a version where everything was visible except for the dead body in the road, which was blurred. The Sun newspaper website had a cropped version where the faces of passers-by were blurred. Other versions blurred the face of the man with the bloodied hands but showed other faces clearly.


The scene is an ordinary London street with an orange school crossing road sign and a white truck parked on the other side of the road in front of a mock Tudor brick building. By-standers can be seen in the background.

The young black man wears a black woolly hat, jeans and a dark wool jacket. His hands are red with blood and he waves the soaking knife and meat cleaver in one hand as he speaks.

"By Allah, we swear by the Almighty Allah, we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone," he says, speaking fast and excitedly.

"When you drop a bomb do 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."

Ivor Gaber, professor of political journalism At City University London, said the footage raised difficult ethical questions for media.

"The attacker got the man to make his sort of 'suicide video'. If this had come from al Qaeda there is no way the broadcasters would have run it," he told Reuters.

"There's a strong news argument that it's the right thing to do. We need to see it in order to understand why these people are doing what they are doing. On the other hand this is exactly what they want. These guys clearly wanted maximum publicity."

In the video, the man urges the British public to "remove your government".

"Do you think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think your 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 we can, so you can all live in peace. Leave our lands and you will leave in peace, that's all I have to say."

(Published 23 May 2013, 16:39 IST)

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