London (CNN) — They first hit the man, thought to be a British soldier, with a car in broad daylight. Then the two attackers hacked him to death and dumped his body in the middle of a southeastern London road.
As the victim — dressed in what appeared to be a T-shirt for Help for Heroes, a charity that helps military veterans — lay prone, one of the two attackers found a camera.
“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone,” said a meat-cleaver-wielding man with bloody hands, speaking in what seems to be a London accent.
“The only reasons we killed this man … is because Muslims are dying daily,” he added, in video aired by CNN affiliate ITN. “This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth.”
One witness, Michael Atlee, described the gruesome, frenzied and ultimately fatal sequence of events Wednesday afternoon as “a bloody mess.”
British Prime David Cameron called it a terrorist attack.
“We will never buckle to terror,” Cameron wrote on Twitter.
Home Secretary Theresa May offered a similar assessment Wednesday night of the situation and a similar message of resolve.
“We have seen terrorism on the streets of Britain before, and we have always stood against it,” she said. “Despicable acts like this will not go unpunished.”
‘They were just animals’
A witness, who identified himself only as James, told London’s LBC 97.3 radio station that he saw two men standing by the victim, who was on the ground in the British capital’s Woolwich neighborhood.