One of the alleged killers of Middleton soldier Lee Rigby has told a court he loves al Qaida and considers the terror group to be "his brothers".
Michael Adebolajo, 28, began giving evidence at the Old Bailey today, surrounded by five security guards in oak-pannelled Court Two.
He and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murdering Fusilier Rigby by running him down with a car and then hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22.
The soldier's relatives sat feet away as Adebolajo spoke to the court.
Al Qaida, I consider to be Mujahideen. I love them, they're my brothers. I have never met them.
"I consider them my brothers in Islam.
"Mujahideen are the army of Allah."
Adebolajo told the court that he took the name Mujahid, meaning fighter, in 2002 or 2003.
Growing up I never did think of killing a man.
"This is not the type of thing that the average child thinks of and I was no different.
"When a soldier joins the Army he perhaps has in his head an understanding that he will kill a man at some stage.
"When I became a mujahid I was aware that perhaps I might end up killing a soldier."
More top news
Ian Paterson lied to his alleged victims, "exaggerating or quite simply inventing risk of cancer", court hears.
RMT members vote for action on Merseyrail in fight to retain safety-critical guards. Action will take place on March 13.
Thomas Shannon pleaded guilty to flytipping between 20 and 25 black bags on Captain Street car park in Horwich in December 2016.