LONDON -- A suspect filmed holding butcher knives in his bloody hands moments after a British soldier was hacked to death on a London street was released from the hospital Friday to undergo questioning by police.
The man, identified in British press reports as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, had spent nine days under armed guard in a London hospital, where he was recovering after from being shot by officers who responded to the May 22 attack.
Adebolajo is suspected of killing soldier Lee Rigby in a savage assault motivated by Islamist radicalism. After Rigby, 25, was knocked over by a car and repeatedly stabbed by two attackers as he lay on the ground not far from his barracks, a man identified as Adebolajo was filmed by passers-by holding the knives and describing the slaying as retribution for the killings of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan by the British military.
Adebolajo’s alleged accomplice, 22-year-old Michael Adebowale, was also shot by police after the attack and was released from the hospital earlier this week. On Thursday, Adebowale appeared in court, charged with murder.
Both suspects are British citizens of Nigerian descent.
Detectives are eager to question Adebolajo, who reportedly converted to Islam from Christianity, to find out whether he has links to any terrorist organizations or whether he allegedly planned the attack on his own initiative.
Rigby’s death is the first on British soil from suspected Islamist terrorism since the multiple suicide bombings on London’s transport system that killed 52 people in 2005.
Scotland Yard said Friday that it had also arrested two men suspected of illegally supplying guns in connection with the attack. Adebowale allegedly fired or at least pointed a revolver at police before they shot him.
At a brief inquest into Rigby’s death Friday, it emerged that the young soldier, a drummer and machine gunner with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was on his way back to his barracks from a work shift at the Tower of London when he was attacked.
Queen Elizabeth II, on a previously planned visit, met privately with the slain soldier’s colleagues at the barracks Friday.