MI5 Investigated London Suspects Before Killing

Sources identify one of the attackers as a 28-year-old who was raised Christian

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 23, 2013 10:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – UK intelligence had previously investigated the men accused of hacking a soldier to death in the streets of London yesterday, and determined that they weren't a threat requiring "immediate intervention," Sky News reports. BBC sources, however, said that while the men were known to security services, reports that they'd been involved in "several investigations" were not true.

While authorities haven't officially IDed either suspect, or detailed their conditions, multiple reports are naming one of them as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo. Here's what's being reported:

  • Adebolajo was born in Britain, and is of Nigerian descent, the BBC reports. He was actually raised Christian, but converted to Islam sometime after leaving college in 2001.
  • "He was a pleasant, quiet guy," says the former leader of the banned Islamist group Al Muhajiroun. "He was just a completely normal guy. He was interested in Islam, in memorizing the Koran. He disappeared about two years ago."
  • A caller to a BBC radio show said he'd seen Adebolajo address a crowd outside a London community center two weeks ago, telling them at first to go fight in Syria, but then adding, "We may not have to go there, because their soldiers are here."
  • Police are reportedly searching his father's home in Lincolnshire. Officers also raided a flat in Greenwich that is believed to belong to one of the attackers.
  • An eyewitness tells the BBC more about how the suspects were shot, saying that police "didn't even get a chance to get out of their car." As soon as they pulled up one of the men rushed them. "And then the other one, with the handgun, lifted it up, and obviously they shot him." According to the AP, both were shot in the legs.
  • London seems to be taking all this in stride, the AP adds. "It doesn't seem to have made much of a difference," one resident says. "Londoners are used to living in a city where life is complicated."

One of the suspected attackers is seen in this video from the scene.
One of the suspected attackers is seen in this video from the scene.   (YouTube)
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