Three in custody over London soldier murder

AFP-JIJI

Three men were being held in custody Sunday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder the British soldier hacked to death in a London street in an Islamist attack.

Two men aged 28 and 24 were arrested at a home in London on Saturday, with police firing a Taser electric stun gun on the older suspect, and on a 21-year-old man they arrested in a street around 1.5 km from the murder scene.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron is launching a new task force to tackle extremism and radicalization, his Downing Street office said.

Lee Rigby, 25, who survived a tour of duty in Afghanistan, was butchered in broad daylight Wednesday outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeastern London.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and 22-year-old Michael Adebowale, remain in a stable condition after being shot by police at the scene of the killing. They have both been arrested on suspicion of murder and are under armed guard in separate hospitals.

Cameron’s new counterterrorism task force will include key Cabinet ministers and bring in police and security chiefs when needed. It will focus on radical preachers who target potential recruits in jails, schools, colleges and mosques. It will also monitor trends in radicalization and tackle “poisonous narratives.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s intelligence agencies are facing scrutiny following claims that the MI5 domestic security service had tried to recruit one of the two murder suspects.

Both men were known to the intelligence services and Adebolajo had links to the banned radical al-Muhajiroun movement, but security experts have warned of the difficulty in keeping track of everybody with extreme views.