Soldier Beheaded In London: Body Left On Street; Machete Assailants Shot [GRAPHIC PHOTO, VIDEO & REPORT]

By Staff Reporter on May 22, 2013 4:41 PM EDT

victim's body
Police officers attend the scene in a still image from amateur video that shows the immediate aftermath of an attack in which a man was killed in southeast London (Photo: Reuters)

A British soldier was beheaded in a reported brutal murder on a street in London's Woolrich on Wednesday. Scotland Yard reports the attack occurred on John Wilson Street at 2:20 p.m., local time. According to reports, the victim was a soldier at Woolwich barracks. The name of the dead victim has not been reported.

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Eyewitnesses report two men, in their twenties, attacking a victim, also aged about 20, who wore a military charity Help for Heroes T-shirt.

A gruesome assault committed in public, witnesses described the incident as a beheading. Another witness described the weapon as a machete blade. What's more, BBC reported sources heard the attacking men shout "Allahu Akbar" as they filmed the horrifying murder.

"We saw clearly two knives, meat cleavers," described James, one of the witnesses, to the Telegraph. "They were big kitchen knives like you would use in a butcher's, they were hacking at this poor guy, we thought they were trying to remove organs from him."

"These two guys were crazed," James continued. "They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."

Following the attack, the machete assailants did not leave the scene despite a growing mob of bystanders pleading for the attackers to drop their weapons and surrender.

"There was only a few people at first then traffic began to build up because people were getting out of their cars to shout at them they were taking no notice, they were standing there, I think they were proud of what they were doing. "When they dumped the body in the road, these two black guys had the opportunity to hurt other people if they wanted to because there were brave women with the dead guy on the floor, they were shielding and covering him. The attackers with the knives were standing over these women.

"The guy with the gun, the tall guy with the beanie cap on, even a bus had pulled up -- he was going over to the bus and asking people to take his photo."

Eventually, authorities managed to arrive at the scene to control the situation. Armed officers shot and injured the attackers.

"I got there minutes after it happened because you could hear gunshots from Woolwich High Street," said Thomas, another witness. "Basically two men carried out an axe attack on a young army cadet walking along the street, by the looks of things the police responded and then shot them in front of the public, at the same time I couldn't really tell if the cadet was fatally or not hurt as police were crowded around him."

Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford announced in a statement following the arrest:

"Police were called to reports of an assault... where one man was being assaulted by two other men. A number of weapons were reportedly being used in the attack, and this included reports of a firearm. Officers including local Greenwich officers arrived at the scene, and shortly after firearms officers arrived on the scene."

"Two men, who we believe from early reports to have been carrying weapons, were shot by police. They have both been taken to separate London hospitals. They are receiving treatment for their injuries. I can understand that this incident will cause community concerns and I would like to reiterate that we are investigating the circumstances."

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