The British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee will conduct an investigation into whether or not UK intelligence services could have done more to prevent last week’s attack on an off-duty soldier in the Woolwich area of London.
The soldier, Lee Rigby, 25, was murdered by two men with knives and meat cleavers after they ran him down with a car near his barracks.
British officials reported that the two main suspects, Michael Adebajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were previously on the radar of intelligence services, but were not perceived to be a significant threat.
“It is important for the public to know that the security services and the police are operating properly,” former London police chief Ian Blair said, according to BBC radio.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Parliament will receive the report when it is complete. Malcolm Rifkind, the chair of the committee, announced that MI5 has pledged to cooperate in the investigation.
Unless the suspects had been directly involved in a previous terrorist attack, intelligence services cannot be blamed for Rigby’s murder. I agree with Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at the Secret Intelligence Service MI6. “To find the signals, the red flags as it were, I think is enormously hard,” Barrett told the BBC. He noted the impracticality of following every person who stated radical views.
In the meantime, Britain’s counterterrorism police are investigating a Sunday night attack on two prison officers that left the officers injured. The inmates involved in the incident may have been Muslims piggybacking on the Woolwich attack.
The attackers' links to radical Islam have caused anti-Muslim sentiment to rise in Britain, where there has been a spike in hate crimes and violence.