Great Britain is still stunned by yesterday's brutal public terroristic murder on the streets of London, but the nation has already shifted into a defiant and defensive stance. Police continue to investigate the two suspects, who are under arrest and in the hospital, to discover if they have any other accomplies or if they have any connection to international terror groups. Early on Thursday, London police raided a home in the Greenwich area and detained four people, however, they did not reveal what connection, if any, those individuals may have to the attack. Authorities have also confirmed that the man killed in Woolrich was indeed a serving U.K. solider and he appears to have been targeted for just that reason.
Like the two brothers who committed the attack on the Boston Marathon, many people want to know if the perpetrators are "homegrown" terrorists who who acted completely on their own, of if they were encouraged, supported, or even trained by foreign organizations like al-Qaeda. Many of those questions are still unanswered, but according to the BBC, one of the attackers has been identified as Michael Adeboloja, who was born in Britain, but comes from a Christian family of Nigerian descent. He reportedly converted to Islam "after college."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron — who returned from a trip to Paris to lead the nation's response — is projecting a defiant attitude in the face of the attack. In a brief speech delivered in front of 10 Downing Street this morning, Cameron said "This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror. We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms." He concluded his remarks by saying the best way to defeat terrorism is to continue with your lives as normal, adding "That is what we shall do today."
The incident — or rather, the reaction to it — also has some people wondering whether media reports are playing into the terrorists' hands. Most people were stunned that the perpetrators calmly argued with bystanders and encouraged photos and video recordings, where the two men made statements about starting a war and taking revenge on British soldiers for crimes against Muslims. While the "citizen journalists" who documented the whole thing provided a valuable record of the crime, they also provided a platform for the assailants to declare their beliefs and intentions. If the murder was planned to send a message, does constant replaying of that message give the attackers exactly what they want?
London also had to deal with anti-Muslim violence last night, as some British mosques were attacked in response to the murder. Cameron was quick to point out in his remarks that the attack should not be blamed on all Muslims, saying the attack was "a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to this country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act." Prominent Muslim leaders in London have denounced the attack as well.
UPDATE 12:06 p.m.: The Ministry of Defense has identified the victim as Lee Rigby, a Drummer in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He was 25 years old, father to a two-year-old son, and had previously served in Afghanistan.
UPDATE (1:40 p.m.): Scotland Yard says they have arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Lee Rigby.
The BBC has also uncovered footage of Michael Adeboloja attending a protest rally in 2007, as a supporter of al-Muhajiroun, an organization that has been since been banned in England. It is now being reported that both suspects were "known" to security services before yesterday's attack.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.