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Betrayal of a hero father: How MI5 spent EIGHT YEARS watching violent ex-prisoner who preached outside Poundland just yards from murder scene only days before soldier was hacked to death
- MI5 had been monitoring two fanatics responsible for SE London killing
- One fanatic was photographed behind hate preacher Anjem Choudary
- Michael Adebolajo, 28, was also a member of a banned terrorist group
- He was said to have preached jihad in Woolwich just earlier this week
- Close to where married father Lee Rigby was beheaded on Wednesday
- Second suspect named last night in reports as Michael Adebowale, 22
PUBLISHED:17:07 EST, 23 May 2013| UPDATED:04:55 EST, 24 May 2013
Murdered: Drummer Lee Rigby with his wife Rebecca at their wedding in 2007. Their son Jack is just two
MI5 had been monitoring the two fanatics responsible for the slaughter of a young soldier near Woolwich barracks for eight years.
The Security Service is facing an inquiry by MPs amid a raft of devastating revelations about the killers’ known links to Islamist extremism.
One of the pair – Michael Adebolajo – was so high profile he was photographed outside Paddington Green police station six years ago behind notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
He was even intercepted by officials as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist terrorists last year.
It also emerged that Adebolajo was a violent ex-prisoner who was a member of a banned terrorist group.
Incredibly, he was said to have been preaching jihad on the streets of Woolwich earlier this week, only a few hundred yards from where 25-year-old Army Drummer Lee Rigby – a married father – was beheaded.
As MI5 faced accusations that they let the men slip through the net, David Cameron ordered a full intelligence review by a Westminster committee.
On a dramatic day:
- Sources confirmed that 28-year-old Adebolajo once served a jail sentence for violence;
- Tory minister Baroness Warsi attacked broadcasters who give airtime to ‘extremist voices – idiots and nutters’ after Choudary gave interviews on BBC TV and Channel 4 News;
- It was revealed Adebolajo was once intercepted by police as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Al-Shabaab;
- The Conservative MP Bob Stewart demanded foreign-born preachers of hate should be ‘put on a plane out’ of Britain;
- Heavily-armed Scotland Yard officers made dawn raids at six homes across London and in Lincoln;
- A man and a woman, both aged 29, were arrested on suspicion of joining the murderous conspiracy.
Previously: Michael Adebolajo was in a group of Muslim extremists who fought with police outside the Old Bailey in 2006. He had been arguing that he had the right to 'behead those who insult Islam'
Terror suspect: Anjem Choudary (right) claimed that this is him pictured with Michael Adebolajo, 28, (circled) at an Islamist demonstration in London in 2007
Police chiefs described the counter terrorism investigation, one of the largest in recent history, as ‘complex and fast-moving’.
Adeolajo, 28, and his friend remained under armed guard in separate hospitals being treated for gunshot wounds. They are expected to recover fully.
The second suspect was reported last night by news outlets including Channel 4 News and The Times to be Michael Adebowale, 22, of Greenwich, south-east London.
The victim was named yesterday as Drummer Rigby, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who has a two-year-old son.
Father of a son: The victim was named yesterday as Drummer Lee Rigby, a veteran of the Afghanistan war
Much missed: Lee Rigby's friends, families and colleagues have paid tribute to the 'bubbly' character they loved
The young soldier was run over and hacked to death with a meat cleaver and knives near his barracks in Woolwich, South East London.
Minutes later the two Islamists were gunned down by firearms officers after charging towards them in an apparent attempt to kill themselves.
The atrocity triggered a wave of national revulsion as the Prime Minster branded it an attack on the British way of life and a ‘betrayal of Islam’.
Hero father Drummer Lee Rigby takes part in band practice, 2010
Weapon: This battered car was used to crush the soldier against a sign in front. The streak of blood in front shows how they dragged his body into the street
After the killing: Michael Adebolajo, 28, pictured on Wednesday, once served a jail sentence for violence
Angels of Woolwich: Gemini Donnelly-Martin, 20, and her mother Amanda (right) talk to one of the alleged attackers with blood on his hands. Meanwhile, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett (left) talks to the other suspect, identified as Michael Adebowale. Lee Rigby lies dead in the road
Mr Cameron said there was no justification for the attack and the responsibility lay purely with the ‘sickening individuals’ behind it.
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He added: ‘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.’
The list of questions faced by the authorities was growing fast as evidence of the danger the two men posed to Britain grew.
Sources said both men featured in ‘a number’ of counter terrorism investigations in recent years but were not seen as a ‘threat to life’.
Yet Adebolajo, who was born in South London but is of Nigerian descent, was linked to Choudary as long ago as 2003.
The former fitness instructor is believed to have been a member of Al Muhajiroun, which was led by the hate preacher until it was banned by the Government.
British citizen: The second attacker was named last night in reports as Michael Adebowale, 22
Sticken: The two alleged terrorists were filmed a the drama as it unfolded on camera phones before witnesses were shepherded away by officers
Picture: This image was the first to emerge on Twitter, showing people close to the soldier's dead body while police hang over the men they have just shot
Chilling words of bloodied man is caught on film
Aftermath: The men waited for 20 minutes saying they wanted to shoot the police, but were gunned down themselves and are shown here being detained
Hovering: An air ambluance comes into land on Woolwich's Wellington Street as crowds gather at the scene of the murder
He was jailed at least once for violence and friends said he was a member of a gang of knife-wielding street robbers in his hometown of Romford, Essex.
'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'
Prime Minister David Cameron
Footage showed him standing directly behind Choudary during a protest outside Paddington Green police station in April 2007.
It is believed he may have also been held by the Met in 2006 after protesting outside the Old Bailey during the trial of four Muslim men.
The defendants were ultimately jailed for their part in protests at the Danish embassy in London against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.
Tearful: A mourner is overcome as he surveys the field of flowers that has been laid in Woolwich in recent days
Tributes: A group of mothers and their children head to the Bararcks to leave flowers and messages for the dead soldier, who also had a son, two
Sad: Bouquets and wreaths are being left along the street and tied to teh railings close to where Lee Rigby died
Personal: This anonymous message was to Lee and thanked him for what he did for Britain
Moved: Three young women prepare to lay flowers where the unnamed soldier was murdered brutally in Woolwich on Wednesday
Message: A handwritten note was also left by one member of the public left distraught by what happened to the murdered man Lee Rigby
Attached to a bunch of white roses, the neatly written note is from a person who didn't know the victim but felt moved to visit where he died
Men linked to Al Muhajiroun gathered outside the high security police station after Muslim convert Abu Izzadeen was arrested for inciting terrorism.
Unbelievably, it is also claimed he was intercepted by police as he attempted to travel to Somalia last year to fight jihad.
Sources said Adebolajo wanted to join Al-Shabaab, a notorious Al Qaeda affiliate responsible for terrorising the region.
The 28-year-old was seen as recently as last week wearing white robes and a cap as he preached outside a branch of Poundland in Woolwich.
Delicate: A forensic officers examine a revolver at the scene and places it in a protective box pistol close to Woolwich Barracks
Forensic approach: A team of police comb over grass and a brick wall for evidence to be used in this shocking murder case
Police have guarded the area where Lee Rigby was killed for at least 48 hours as they investigate exactly what happened
Regiment's tribute to hero father Drummer Lee Rigby
Residents said the former University of Greenwich student was handing out leaflets encouraging locals to support rebels in Syria.
The second attacker, named last night in reports as Michael Adebowale, 22, is believed to have been born in Nigeria before becoming a naturalised British citizen.
'This is going to be a big blow to the new director of MI5, who has only been in the job for a couple of weeks'
Professor Anthony Glees, University of Buckingham
A woman believed to be his girlfriend was arrested during a raid at his home in a block of council flats in Woolwich.
Security officials are currently monitoring more than 2,000 suspects and sources point out they must target their resources on the fanatics considered to pose the greatest danger.
They also say MI5’s resources have been dramatically increased since the July 7 bombings which has meant the number of suspects crossing the ‘radar’ of surveillance teams has itself soared.
Patrols: Two soldiers, one of them carrying a firearm, walk outside Woolwich Barracks yesterday following the murder on Wednesday
Condemnation: David Cameron, pictured in Woolwich with local MP Nick Raynsford, said the attack would bring the UK together and 'make us stronger'
Tribute: Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside Number 10, said the murder of a 'brave soldier' on the streets of London will bring the UK together and 'make us stronger'
Scene: Boris Johnson speaks to police officers just yards from where the soldier was brutally murdered
Police yesterday raided a house which is believed to be connected with Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo. His father Anthony is said to live at this Lincolnshire address
Former home: Michael Adebolajo lived in this house in Romford with his parents while he converted to Islam as a teenager
Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said MI5 made the ‘wrong call’.
He said: ‘This is going to be a big blow to the new director of MI5, who has only been in the job for a couple of weeks.’
But Patrick Mercer, a Tory MP and counter terrorism expert, said it is ‘impossible’ for police and security services to keep us ‘100 per cent secure’.