Ali Harbi Ali is the suspect in the murder of British politician David Amess. He is a UK citizen of Somali descent, according to the BBC. He is accused of stabbing Amess in the act of terrorism. Amess was a Conservative Member of Parliament representing Southend West.
Amess was killed during a constituency event at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday, October 15, 2021.
He is 25 years old.
David Amess Murder
According to Sky News, Ali made an appointment to see Amess for a meeting while holding constituency surgery at the church. Scotland councilor John Lamb told the BBC he spoke to one of Amess’ assistants, and she told him, “All of a sudden there was a scream from her because the person deliberately whipped out a knife and started stabbing David. The other lady who was getting names from people outside came running in and saw poor David had been stabbed.”
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The Metropolitan Police said in a statement, “The incident has been formally declared as terrorism by Senior National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Policing, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon. The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is leading the investigation.” Scotland Yard added, “Late on Friday, 15 October, whilst in police custody, the man was subsequently further detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and he is now being held at a London police station.”
Ali Harbi Ali Arrested
The 25-year-old suspect was arrested at the church on Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, shortly after 12:05 p.m. on Friday, October 15, after stabbing Amess, the Metropolitan Police said in a press release. “A knife used in the attack was recovered at the scene. No one else was treated for injuries following the incident,” the police statement said.
A source told Sky News that Ali was previously referred to Prevent, a government anti-terrorism plan to stop radicalization. The BBC reports that occurred “some years ago,” but no other specifics were released. Sky News reports Ali was “not on the radar” of the MI5 and the BBC added the security service did not formally investigate him.
According to a 2019 report in the Financial Times, the British government had claimed at that time that more than 1,200 people were diverted from extremism through the Prevent program. But FT reported the program has been controversial.
The BBC reported that Ali did not spend much time involved in the anti-terrorism program. In a statement after the attack, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said, according to The National, “Prevent is going through an independent review right now.