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Two Islamists Convicted Over London Beheading

Murderers say brutal murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby was an 'act of war'; wanted to be shot by police for 'martyrdom.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 12/19/2013, 5:07 PM

Drummer Lee Rigby
Drummer Lee Rigby
Reuters

A British court on Thursday found Muslim converts Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale guilty of murdering soldier Drummer Lee Rigby on a London street last May. In the gruesome murder, the two ran Rigby over with a car before stabbing him and attempting to behead him with knives and a meat cleaver.

Adebolajo previously has called himself a "soldier of Allah," and declared the murder to be 'an act of war'. The two chose Rigby as their victim because he was "the soldier that was spotted first.," according to BBC.

Rigby's wife Rebecca said after the verdict "this has been the toughest time of our lives. No one should have to go through what we have been through as a family." She added "I now want to build a future for (my son) Jack and make him proud of his dad like we all are."

The ruling found the two not guilty of attempting to murder a police officer following the killing, when they charged at police brandishing the cleaver and an unloaded gun. They were shot by officers and then rushed to the hospital.

According to their testimony, the two were not trying to kill police; rather, they wanted to be shot dead to "achieve martyrdom."

A sentence will be passed after a January appeal court ruling on the usage of whole life terms.

Concerning the incident, British Prime Minister David Cameron said "we have to redouble our efforts to confront the poisonous narrative of extremism and violence that lay behind this and make sure we do everything to beat it in our country."

Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya in 2010 over terrorism charges and deported to Britain, despite having been apparently preparing to fight in the ranks of Somali militant group al-Shabab. Britain therefore knew that Adebolajo was possibly dangerous, but took him in nonetheless, and apparently set him free.

British Home Secretary Theresa May said the "sickening and barbaric" murder "united the entire nation in condemnation."

The murder sparked outrage in London, with riots and protests around the city, a backlash that reportedly included attacks on two mosques.