British MP stabbed to death in possible terrorist attack – .

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British MP stabbed to death in possible terrorist attack – .


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LEIGH-ON-SEA – British lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death in an Essex church on Friday by an assailant who pounced on him as he was meeting with voters, in what police called terrorist attack.

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Amess, 69, of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was stabbed multiple times in the midday attack at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, east London.

Metropolitan Police, whose counterterrorism unit is investigating the incident, said in a statement on Saturday that they had declared the deadly stabbing attack a terrorist incident.

The preliminary investigation revealed “potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” police added.

A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder, and detectives said anti-terrorism officers were leading the initial investigation.

“As part of the investigation, officers are carrying out searches at two addresses in the London area and these are ongoing,” police said, adding that the suspect in custody is believed to have acted alone.

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Politicians described the attack as an attack on democracy.

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“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and its future and today we have lost a good civil servant and a much loved friend and colleague,” said Johnson, who rushed to London from the west of England after the news broke. .

Armed policemen rushed to the church and paramedics fought in vain to save the life of the lawmaker on the church floor, where a sign read: “All are welcome here: where old friends hang out.” meet and where foreigners feel at home. “

“Tragically, he died at the scene,” Essex Police Chief Ben-Julian Harrington told reporters. He said police at the time of the incident did not believe there was an immediate threat to anyone else.

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He gave no further details about the murder, the second fatal attack on a British MP in their constituency in the past five years which has raised questions about the safety of politicians.

Broadcaster Sky News said the man arrested is believed to be a British national of Somali descent.

Colleagues across parliament expressed shock and paid tribute to Amess, one of Britain’s longest-serving lawmakers, for his commitment to his constituents, with whom he held regular meetings on the first and third Fridays of the month.

Flags on all British government buildings will be hoisted at half mast in tribute.

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Amess, married with five children, was first elected to Parliament to represent the town of Basildon in 1983 and then to nearby Southend West in 1997. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his public service in 2015.

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His website listed his main interests as “animal welfare and pro-life issues”. He was popular with lawmakers and known for his active contributions to debates – often on issues relating to his constituency of Essex or animal rights.

Bob Hazel, secretary of a group of local residents, said Amess chatted regularly with commuters on the train from London.

“He wouldn’t be stuck behind a book or a newspaper, he was talking to people and he was that kind of person. He was really accessible and he will be sorely missed, ”Hazel told Reuters.

In Amess’ latest contribution to the House of Commons last month, he called for a debate on animal welfare.

Residents left flowers next to the church with a tribute: “David Amess RIP a gentleman xxx. “

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The knife attack at a meeting with voters echoes a 2010 incident when Labor lawmaker Stephen Timms survived a stab in his constituency office and the fatal shooting of Labor’s Jo Cox in 2016 , just days before the Brexit referendum.

Cox’s husband Brendan called the attack on Amess “as cowardly as it gets,” while his sister, Kim Leadbeater, who was elected MP earlier this year for the same region Cox represented, said that ‘it showed the “massive risks”. lawmakers had to take.

“It’s horrible that another family has to go through this again,” Leadbeater said. “So many members of Parliament today will be afraid of this. My partner came home and said, ‘I don’t want you to do this anymore, because next time that phone goes, the conversation might be different.’ “

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed his condolences. “An attack on elected officials is an attack on democracy,” he said.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said the incident would send shockwaves across the parliamentary community and across the country, adding that the safety of lawmakers should be discussed.

“Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives,” said Interior Minister (Interior Minister) Priti Patel, adding that she had asked the police to examine the situation. safety of legislators.

The Conservative Party has suspended all campaign activities until further notice.

“It is heartbreaking to learn of the passing of Sir David Amess,” said former Prime Minister Theresa May. “An honest man and respected parliamentarian, killed in his own community in the exercise of his public functions. A tragic day for our democracy.

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