LONDON (AP) — A man accused of killing an off-duty British soldier in a frenzied knife attack on a London street defended his actions in court Monday, claiming he is a soldier fighting for the Muslim religion and declaring his love for al-Qaida.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, said that he attacked soldier Lee Rigby because he wanted to protest Britain's invasion of Muslim lands. He claimed to be one of many fighters engaged in jihad, or holy war, against Western countries that wage war in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
When asked what his defense was, Adebolajo answered that he was a "soldier of Allah" and said he had no regrets for his actions.
"I will never regret obeying the command of Allah," he said. "I'm a soldier. I can't do anything else."
Adebolajo spoke calmly and clearly as he was cross-examined at London's Central Criminal Court on Monday, telling jurors that while he had never met anyone from al-Qaida, he was full of admiration for the terrorist group.
"I love them. I consider them brothers in Islam," he said of the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Adebolajo and fellow defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murder in connection with Rigby's death, a brutal slaying that shocked the country. Rigby, 25, was walking near his barracks in south London in May when he was run over by a car, then stabbed and nearly decapitated.
The two suspects deny the murder charge, and Monday's hearing was the jury's first chance to hear directly from one of the defendants about what led to the attack.