Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale: MI5 had been monitoring Woolwich attack suspects for 8 years
It was reported today that 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 suspects – Michael Adebolajo – was so high profile he was photographed outside Paddington Green police station six years ago behind notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
Michael Adebolajo was even intercepted by officials as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist terrorists last year.
It also emerged that Michael Adebolajo, 28, 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 beh**ded.
As MI5 faced accusations that they let the men slip through the net, British PM David Cameron ordered a full intelligence review by a Westminster committee.
Police chiefs described the counter terrorism investigation, one of the largest in recent history, as “complex and fast-moving”.
Michael Adebolajo and his friend remained under armed guard in separate hospitals being treated for gunshot wounds. They are expected to recover fully.
The second suspect was reported last night by news outlets including Channel 4 News and The Times to be Michael Adebowale, 22, of Greenwich, south-east London.
The victim was named yesterday as Drummer Lee Rigby, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who has a two-year-old son.
The young soldier was run over and ha**ed 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 British Prime Minster David Cameron branded it an attack on the British way of life and a “betrayal of Islam”.
PM David Cameron said there was no justification for the attack and the responsibility lay purely with the “sickening individuals” behind it.
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 Michael Adebolajo, who was born in South London but is of Nigerian descent, was linked to Anjem 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.
Michael Adebolajo 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.
Footage showed him standing directly behind Anjem 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 satirizing the Prophet Muhammad.