THE soldier who was brutally killed in a suspected terror attack in Woolwich on Wednesday has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby.
The 25-year-old father was a soldier with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, attached to the Regimental Recruiting Team.
As he was being named, Scotland Yard anti-terrorist detectives were carrying out a series of raids across London and beyond.
Two people, a man and woman aged 29, were arrested on suspicion of conspirng to commit murder.
Six addresses are being searched, including four in London and one Woolwich, in connection with the murder.
Known as ‘Riggers’ to his friends, Fusilier Rigby joined the Army in 2006 and had served in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus before taking up a recruiting post in Londonl.
The Ministry of Defence described him as “an extremely popular and witty soldier”.
It added: “Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers”.
His peers paid tribute to him in a statement and said their thoughts were with Drummer Rigby’s family, including his two-year-old son Jack.
“His ability, talent and personality made him a natural choice to work in the recruiting group. He will be sorely missed by everyone in the Second Fusiliers,” Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor MBE, Commanding Officer Second Fusiliers, said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time. Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier.”
Sergeant Barry Ward, Drum Major Second Fusiliers: “Drummer Rigby was a loving father, with a very bubbly character. He was an excellent Drummer, loved his job and was a highly popular member of the Platoon.”
Drummer Rigby died in a frenzied attack on Wednesday afternoon at Artillery Place.
Eyewitnesses have described a “crazed” attack by two men who attempted to behead the soldier, who was wearing a ‘Help for Heroes’ t-shirt, and then dragged him into the road.
A woman has described how she confronted one of the men, who was armed with a knife and axe.
Cub leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, was on a bus heading through the south-east district, when she noticed the injured victim in the road.
She said she initially thought he had been injured in a car accident.
“I went to the guy and when I approached the body, there was a lady cradling him. And then (one of the alleged killers), the most excited one of the two, said: ‘Don’t go too close to the body’,” she told ITV Daybreak.
“I thought, okay. And because I was down, I could see a butcher’s knife and an axe – that’s what he had – and blood. I thought, what the heck?”
He said: ‘Don’t touch, I killed him’. I said: ‘Why?’ He said: ‘He’s a British soldier. He killed people. He killed Muslim people in Muslim countries.’
Ms Loyau-Kennett and other by-standers have been praised for their bravery in approaching the men.
The two suspects were taken to separate hospitals in the city to be treated for their injuries, after they were shot by police at the scene.
They are believed to be British citizens with Nigerian connections who converted to a radical form of Islam. It has been revealed that they were known to security forces.
Anti-terror police are understood to have searched the former Lincolnshire home of a man called Michael Adebolajo as part of the investigation.
A car believed to have been used in the soldier’s attack was taken away overnight.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who said the incident was “truly shocking”, met with Cobra on Thursday while security has been tightened across London.
There was a discussion about community cohesion and Downing Street said that ministers commended Muslim community leaders for their strength and unity of response.
Speaking outside Number Ten, the PM condemned the incident as a “betrayal of Islam” and joined in praise for Ms Loyau-Kennett, saying “she spoke for us all”.
“Confronting extremism is a job for us all,” he said. “And the fact that our communities will unite in doing this was vividly demonstrated by the brave Cub pack leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who confronted one of the attackers on the streets of Woolwich yesterday afternoon.
“When told by the attacker he wanted to start a war in London, she replied: ‘You’re going to lose – it is only you versus many’.”
Mr Cameron said that one of the best ways to defeat terrorism is to “go about our normal lives and that is what we shall all do.
“The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.”
The PM added that police and security services will not stop until “we have brought all of those responsible to justice”.