Britain’s Ministry of Defence has identified the soldier who died near the Woolwich army barracks in southeast London as 25-year-old Drummer Lee Rigby.
He was serving with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and leaves behind a two-year-old son.
Police are still trying to establish what happened on Wednesday afternoon.
Witnesses say two men used a car to run down the victim whom they then attacked with knives and a machete shouting “Allahu Akbar- God is Great”.
Around 20 minutes later, an armed response unit arrived and shot the men but not before one of the suspects was filmed by a passerby justifying his actions.
The killing sparked a terror alert with suspicions raised that this was a possible jihadist attack.
One of the alleged killers is reportedly 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, who is British of Nigerian descent.
Muslim leaders in the UK have strongly condemned the attack declaring it was not carried out in the name of Islam.
“What we have seen is a ratcheting up of tensions,” said Muslim political commentator, Mohammed Ansar.
“We have seen hysteria about Muslims and Islam, fear and hatred and xenophobia against foreigners and immigrants and, in that political cauldron, these kind of sparks can cause real, real damage and that is the danger, that communities do not turn on themselves.”
But as police investigate whether the killing was part of a terrorist plot or carried out by so-called ‘lone wolves’, there have already been two attacks on mosques in the southeast of England. The British National Party (BNP) has issued anti-immigration statements and members of the far right English Defence League (EDL) clashed with police.
“Enough’s enough. Our message is – enough’s enough. We have weak leaders, weak police. Our police, our leaders tiptoe around this issue. This issue is political Islam. It’s political Islam that’s spreading across this country,” said EDL leader