MI5 had been monitoring the two fanatics responsible for the slaughter of a young soldier near Woolwich barracks for eight years.

The Security Service is facing an inquiry by MPs amid a raft of devastating revelations about the killers’ known links to Islamist extremism.

One of the pair – Michael Adebolajo – was so high profile he was photographed outside Paddington Green police station six years ago behind notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

He was even intercepted by officials as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist terrorists last year.

It also emerged that Adebolajo was a violent ex-prisoner who was a member of a banned terrorist group.

Incredibly, he was said to have been preaching jihad on the streets of Woolwich earlier this week, only a few hundred yards from where 25-year-old Army Drummer Lee Rigby – a married father – was beheaded.

As MI5 faced accusations that they let the men slip through the net, David Cameron ordered a full intelligence review by a Westminster committee.

On a dramatic day:

  • Sources confirmed that 28-year-old Adebolajo once served a jail sentence for violence;
  • Tory minister Baroness Warsi attacked broadcasters who give airtime to ‘extremist voices – idiots and nutters’ after Choudary gave interviews on BBC TV and Channel 4 News;
  • It was revealed Adebolajo was once intercepted by police as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Al-Shabaab;
  • The Conservative MP Bob Stewart demanded foreign-born preachers of hate should be ‘put on a plane out’ of Britain;
  • Heavily-armed Scotland Yard officers made dawn raids at six homes across London and in Lincoln;
  • A man and a woman, both aged 29, were arrested on suspicion of joining the murderous conspiracy.
 
Previously: Michael Adebolajo was in a group of Muslim extremists who fought with police outside the Old Bailey in 2006. He had been arguing that he had the right to 'behead those who insult Islam'

Previously: Michael Adebolajo was in a group of Muslim extremists who fought with police outside the Old Bailey in 2006. He had been arguing that he had the right to ‘behead those who insult Islam’

Terror suspect: Anjem Choudary (right) claimed that this is him pictured with Michael Adebolajo, 28, (circled) at an Islamist demonstration in London in 2007

Terror suspect: Anjem Choudary (right) claimed that this is him pictured with Michael Adebolajo, 28, (circled) at an Islamist demonstration in London in 2007 .

Murdered: Drummer Lee Rigby with his wife Rebecca at their wedding in 2007. Their son Jack is just two

Murdered: Drummer Lee Rigby with his wife Rebecca at their wedding in 2007. Their son Jack is just two.

The young soldier was run over and hacked to death with a meat cleaver and knives near his barracks in Woolwich, South East London.

Minutes later the two Islamists were gunned down by firearms officers after charging towards them in an apparent attempt to kill themselves.

The atrocity triggered a wave of national revulsion as the Prime Minster branded it an attack on the British way of life and a ‘betrayal of Islam’. 

The young soldier was run over and hacked to death with a meat cleaver and knives near his barracks in Woolwich, South East London.

Minutes later the two Islamists were gunned down by firearms officers after charging towards them in an apparent attempt to kill themselves.

The atrocity triggered a wave of national revulsion as the Prime Minster branded it an attack on the British way of life and a ‘betrayal of Islam’. 

After the killing: Michael Adebolajo, 28, pictured on Wednesday, once served a jail sentence for violence

After the killing: Michael Adebolajo, 28, pictured on Wednesday, once served a jail sentence for violence

Fervent: The two young women who had comforted the dead man speak to one of the killers while the 48-year-old Cub Leader speaks to the other in the 20 minutes before police arrived

Fervent: The two young women who had comforted the dead man speak to one of the killers while the 48-year-old Cub Leader speaks to the other in the 20 minutes before police arrived

Mr Cameron said there was no justification for the attack and the responsibility lay purely with the ‘sickening individuals’ behind it.

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He added: ‘This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror. We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms.’

The list of questions faced by the authorities was growing fast as evidence of the danger the two men posed to Britain grew.

Sources said both men featured in ‘a number’ of counter terrorism investigations in recent years but were not seen as a ‘threat to life’.

Yet Adebolajo, who was born in South London but is of Nigerian descent, was linked to Choudary as long ago as 2003.

The former fitness instructor is believed to have been a member of Al Muhajiroun, which was led by the hate preacher until it was banned by the Government.

He was jailed at least once for violence and friends said he was a member of a gang of knife-wielding street robbers in his hometown of Romford, Essex.

‘This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror. We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms’

Prime Minister David Cameron

Footage showed him standing directly behind Choudary during a protest outside Paddington Green police station in April 2007.

It is believed he may have also been held by the Met in 2006 after protesting outside the Old Bailey during the trial of four Muslim men.

The defendants were ultimately jailed for their part in protests at the Danish embassy in London against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

 
Tearful: A mourner is overcome as he surveys the field of flowers that has been laid in Woolwich in recent days

Tearful: A mourner is overcome as he surveys the field of flowers that has been laid in Woolwich in recent days.

Men linked to Al Muhajiroun gathered outside the high security police station after Muslim convert Abu Izzadeen was arrested for inciting terrorism.

Unbelievably, it is also claimed he was intercepted by police as he attempted to travel to Somalia last year to fight jihad.

Sources said Adebolajo wanted to join Al-Shabaab, a notorious Al Qaeda affiliate responsible for terrorising the region.

The 28-year-old was seen as recently as last week wearing white robes and a cap as he preached outside a branch of Poundland in Woolwich.

Residents said the former University of Greenwich student was handing out leaflets encouraging locals to support rebels in Syria.

The second attacker, named last night in reports as Michael Adebowale, 22, is believed to have been born in Nigeria before becoming a naturalised British citizen.

‘This is going to be a big blow to the new director of MI5, who has only been in the job for a couple of weeks’

Professor Anthony Glees, University of Buckingham

A woman believed to be his girlfriend was arrested during a raid at his home in a block of council flats in Woolwich.

Security officials are currently monitoring more than 2,000 suspects and sources point out they must target their resources on the fanatics considered to pose the greatest danger.

They also say MI5’s resources have been dramatically increased since the July 7 bombings which has meant the number of suspects crossing the ‘radar’ of surveillance teams has itself soared.

Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said MI5 made the ‘wrong call’.

He said: ‘This is going to be a big blow to the new director of MI5, who has only been in the job for a couple of weeks.’

But Patrick Mercer, a Tory MP and counter terrorism expert, said it is ‘impossible’ for police and security services to keep us ‘100 per cent secure’.

 
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