A Somali U.K. passport-holder who’s believed to have stabbed Conservative MP Sir David Amess to death on Friday in what has been declared a “terrorist incident” with “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism” is sitting in a jail cell today after being apprehended by authorities.
The suspected killer, whose name according to Whitehall officials is Ali Harbi Ali, was arrested Friday after he stabbed Sir David Amess, aged 69, more than a dozen times at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, the Sunday Times reports.
In the hours which followed the brutal terrorist attack, Amess succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the attack, despite emergency services’ efforts to revive him.
Sources inside of Whitehall say that the suspected terrorist’s father is Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to the prime minister of Somalia. On Saturday, Kullane addressed his 25-year-old son’s alleged involvement in the murder of the long-standing member of parliament, saying: “I’m feeling very traumatized. It’s not something that I expected or even dreamt of.”
Although Ali hasn’t been formally charged with murder, authorities have transferred him to a detention facility in London where he is being held on a warrant under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Ali, who according to authorities was a “self-radicalized” lone wolf actor, had been previously known to counterterrorism police. Although he had never been considered a formal subject of interest to M15, Britain’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, in the years which preceded the deadly attack, he had allegedly been referred to the U.K.’s state-run deradicalization program “Prevent.”
In the wake of the murder, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the fallen MP, describing Amess — who’s survived by his wife and five children — as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.”
“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and its future,” Johnson said. “We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague.”
Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s Labor Party — the country’s main opposition party — also responded to the attack, saying: “My heart goes out to Sir David’s wife, to his children, his wider family, his staff, and all of his friends and colleagues. Today is a dark and shocking day. The whole country will feel it acutely, perhaps the more so because we have, heartbreakingly, been here before.”
“We will show once more that violence, intimidation, and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs,” Starmer added, urging the British people to “come together in response to these horrendous events.”
To prevent similar attacks from happening in the future, Brexit leader Nigel Farage proposed that military veterans be employed to ensure the safety of politicians, arguing that they’re well suited for the job since they’ve been trained to protect civilians and to be on the “lookout for terrorism.”
Other government officials like Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood called for face-to-face meetings between members of parliament and the public to be suspended for the time being, writing on social media: “MP engagement with the public… is a vital part of our work — our accessibility with the public. But understandable huge anxiety amongst MPs now.”
“Until the Home Secretary’s review of MP security is complete, I would recommend a temporary pause in face-to-face meetings,” Elwood added.