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Somali Briton named suspect in Amess murder


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A 25-year-old British citizen has been named by government officials as the terrorist suspect arrested for the murder of Sir David Amess, the Tory MP who was fatally stabbed on Friday.

Amess, the representative for Southend West in Essex, has been stabbed multiple times during a meeting with voters at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea. Essex Police said a man had been arrested following the incident and were not looking for any other suspects.

A senior Whitehall official confirmed Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old Briton of Somali descent, was the suspect detained. One person familiar with the situation said it was not known why Ali had targeted Amess. “It is unfathomable,” they added.

The London Metropolitan Police said the murder was a terrorist incident on Saturday, with the Counterterrorism Force Command taking over the investigation from local forces.

Metropolitan police said on Saturday evening that the suspect was arrested under section 41 of the 2000 Terrorism Act, which allows prolonged detention before charge, and that magistrates had granted them until Friday, October 22. to keep the man in custody.

The force said it searched three addresses in London as part of the investigation. He didn’t say where the addresses are.

Neither the force nor an Interior Ministry official have confirmed reports that Ali was referred to the anti-terrorism program Prevent, which aims to deflect people showing signs of Islamist or far-right radicalization. .

MI5, the UK’s homeland security service, is working closely in support of the police investigation. The Met also said a post-mortem exam was carried out on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer, Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Home Secretary Priti Patel paid tribute to Amess in his constituency of Essex.

Johnson laid a wreath which described Amess as “a good parliamentarian and a much loved colleague and friend”. Starmer wrote that he was “a devoted public servant, husband and father”.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government “will continue to review and strengthen measures” to protect the safety of MPs.

“We cannot be intimidated by any individual or any motivation – people with motives that prevent us from functioning to serve our elected democracy – so on that basis we have measures in place,” she said. .

Labor is not expected to run as a candidate in the Southend West by-election to elect a new MP. A party insider said he would follow the Tories’ decision not to run in the 2016 Batley and Spen by-elections following the death of Jo Cox, the Labor MP who was assassinated outside of an operation constituency.

Amess’s murder at a place of worship shocked religious communities across the UK. Three Southend mosques issued a joint statement on Saturday denouncing the “brutal and senseless murder”.

The murder was “an indefensible atrocity, committed on the grounds of a place of worship,” according to the statement from Essex Jamme Masjid, Faizane Madina Masjid Southend and Southend Mosque. “We condemn him in the strongest possible terms. “

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