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United Kingdom

Police make new arrests in London soldier's murder

British police have made two further arrests following the murder of a soldier in London. Earlier, the media revealed the identity of the suspects arrested at the scene as well as that of the victim.

Police raided houses across London Thursday, with authorities saying they had arrested a man and a woman, both 29, on conspiracy to commit murder.

A day earlier 25-year-old Lee Rigby was hacked to death with knives and meat-cleavers outside a London army barracks. Police quickly shot and arrested the two murder suspects and took them to separate hospitals.

The men aged 28 and 22, are believed to be Britons of Nigerian origin. Both are in stable condition and police say their injuries are not life threatening.

One of the suspects was named by acquaintances and British media as 28-year-old Londoner Michael Adebolajo - a British-born convert to radical Islam. The other has been named by British media as 22-year-old Michael Adebowale, also from London.

Soldier identified

The 25-year-old Rigby served with 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He had served in Afghanistan.

The two men used a car to run down Rigby on a London street in broad daylight. They tried to behead him with a meat cleaver and knives, witnesses said, shouting that they acted in revenge for British wars in Muslim countries.

Images of one of the blood-soaked suspects were published on the front pages of Thursday's newspapers.

New arrests

On Thursday police searched five properties in London and a sixth in a village in eastern England, in addition to arresting to the latest suspects.

"This is a large, complex and fast-moving investigation which continues to develop," police said in a statement. "Many lines of inquiry are being followed by detectives, and the investigation is progressing well."

Officers are currently going through witness statements, social media and security camera footage, while forensic experts have been investigating the scene of the murder in Woolwich for evidence.

Violence condemned

Prime Minister David Cameron appealed for calm after Rigby's murder, while an extra 1,200 officers were deployed around London to reassure the public.

"[The number of extra police] will be assessed on a rolling basis depending on the picture," A police spokesman said. "I'm sure there will be heightened numbers for a little while to come."

"This was not just an attack on Britain and the British way of life," Cameron said outside his Downing Street office. "It was also a betrayal of Islam and the Muslim communities who give so much to our country."

The Muslim Council of Britain described the murder as "a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam."

dr,jm/ch (AFP, AP, Reuters)