Published: 1:41 p.m. ET | Updated: 4:52 p.m. ET
A man with blood-soaked hands holding what appeared to be a meat cleaver and a machete spoke out at the gruesome scene of a suspected terror attack that left one man dead in broad daylight in London on Wednesday, telling a cameraman, “you people will never be safe.”
According to reports, two men attacked and killed a third man near a London military barracks, shouting “Allahu Akbar.” The London Daily Telegraph characterized the attack as “Islamist terror.” Unconfirmed reports stated the man killed was a soldier. Two U.K. government officials told the Associated Press the attack seemed to be motivated by radical Islam.
“We swear by Almighty Allah, we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. The only reasons we killed this man is because Muslims are dying daily. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” the man with bloodied hands told a camera, as the victim’s body lay nearby. ” I apologize that women 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!”
One eyewitness claimed on Twitter that he saw the victim “with his head chopped off,” a detail that was not confirmed by police.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the killing “truly shocking” and said he had asked Home Secretary Theresa May to call an urgent meeting of the government’s emergency committee.
A British government official who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the investigation said the details that had emerged were indicative of a “terrorist-motivated attack.”
May said she had been briefed by Britain’s domestic security service, MI5, and by police on what she called a “sickening and barbaric” attack.
Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford told reporters that police received reports of an assault in the London neighborhood of Woolwich around 2:20 p.m. Letchford said “a number of weapons” were used, including a gun. He indicated the first police officers to arrive at the scene were unarmed.
“Officers including local Greenwich officers arrived at the scene and shortly after firearms officers arrived on the scene,” Letchford said. “Two men, who we believe from early reports to have been carrying weapons, were shot by police. They were taken to separate London hospitals. They are receiving treatment for their injuries.”
David Dixon, head teacher of a nearby primary school, said police told him there was a serious incident. He said he saw body lying in the road outside.
He told the BBC that he then made sure children were inside and put the school into lockdown mode. He said he then heard shots fired.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.