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Soldier murdered in London street died from stab wounds, autopsy shows

Britainattack_052313.jpg

This undated image released May 23, 2013, by the British Ministry of Defense, shows Drummer Lee Rigby, known as Riggers to his friends, who is identified by the MOD as the serving member of the armed forces who was attacked and killed by two men in the Woolwich area of London on Wednesday.AP/MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

An autopsy shows that a British soldier killed in a suspected Islamic extremist attack in London last week died from multiple cuts and stab wounds after he was hit by a car, police said Wednesday.

Lee Rigby, 25, was first struck by a blue car and then stabbed by two men near his barracks in southeast London's Woolwich district, police said.

Images that emerged in the attack's aftermath showed two men wielding bloody knives and meat cleavers. Police said the autopsy showed Rigby died from "multiple incised wounds."

Both prime suspects were shot and wounded by police at the scene. Suspect Michael Adebolajo, 28, remains hospitalized in stable condition while Michael Adebowale, 22, was discharged from a hospital Tuesday and is in police custody.

A total of 10 people have been arrested in the case, including the two main suspects. Two people were released and several others have been set free on bail pending further inquiries. No charges have been filed yet.

With the cause of death established, police said an inquest on Rigby's death will open Friday at Southwark Coroner's Court. In Britain, inquests are conducted to establish the circumstances surrounding unexpected or violent deaths.

London counterterrorism police officers handed out leaflets Wednesday seeking information from pedestrians and bus passengers in a quest for new information on the slaying that shocked Britain.

One of the men arrested for questioning in the case released a statement through his lawyer Wednesday proclaiming his innocence. Hayden Allen, 21, said in the statement that he wanted to send his condolences to Rigby's family.

"My family are wholly uninvolved," said Allen, who has not been charged and is free on bail. "I ask that the police continue to investigate and that my family be allowed without harassment to continue their lives."

The killing of an off-duty soldier by suspected Islamic militants has raised racial enmities in many parts of England, with far-right groups mobilizing to protest.

British prison officers have been warned to be on the lookout after a hostage drama blamed on extremist Muslim inmates, British newspapers reported Wednesday.

An email to high-security prisons and young offenders' institutes warned that Sunday's incident at Full Sutton detention facility in the northern England region of Yorkshire was linked to religious extremism and warned of an increased risk of attacks at other institutions, according to several British papers, including The Yorkshire Post and The Times.

"Three Muslim prisoners took an officer hostage in an office. Their demands indicated they supported radical Islamist extremism," the letter was quoted as saying. "All staff are reminded to remain vigilant to the increased risk of potential attacks on prison officers inspired by these and last Wednesday's events."

The hostage-takers demands have not been disclosed. Britain's Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the email.

The English Defense League, a right-wing group with strong anti-Islam leanings, has held a series of protests in the wake of the killing, while Muslim community organizations have reported a surge in attacks and harassment.

One mosque in the northern England town of Grimsby was firebombed, and the word "ISLAM" was daubed in big red letters across the Royal Air Force Bomber Command memorial in London's Green Park, near Buckingham Palace.

Two people have been charged in the arson attack. It's unclear who was responsible for the graffiti.

Hackers have also posted a purported list of English Defense League leaders and supporters to the Internet.  The list was at least partially genuine, according to English Defense League supporter Glen Warren, 32, whose name and phone number were among those made available online.