British police arrest son of ex-Somali political aide after stabbing lawmakers

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Police set up a forensic tent in the garden of a house believed to be the address of a man arrested in connection with the killing of British MP David Amess, who was stabbed to death during a rally in London, UK, October 17, 2021 REUTERS / Henry Nicholls

HENRY NICHOLLS / Reuters

Ali Harbi Ali, the son of a former media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, has been arrested by British police under anti-terrorism laws following the killing of lawmaker David Amess, a source close to the investigation and British media said.

Amess, 69, of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party, was repeatedly stabbed as he met constituency voters at a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.

The assassination took place five years after the assassination of Jo Cox, a lawmaker from the opposition Labor Party, and has led to a review of politicians’ security.

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Police said they had arrested a 25-year-old British man on suspicion of murder and have said they believe he acted alone. They have not named the suspect but used additional powers under anti-terrorism laws to detain him until October 22.

A British source close to the investigation is named Ali Harbi Ali, a British citizen, whom the suspect detained.

Harbi Ali Kullane, father of Ali Harbi Ali, told The Sunday Times that his son had been arrested in connection with the murder.

“Right now we are going through (an) unsurpassed and terrible situation,” Harbi Ali Kullane, former adviser to Hassan Ali Khaire, former Somali prime minister, told Reuters in an email when asked about it.

“Because of the ongoing early investigation, I am obliged not to talk about it,” said Harbi Ali Kullane, former head of the Somali government’s media and communications department.

British police searched on Sunday for an address in north London linked to Ali Harbi Ali, Reuters journalists said.

Ames’ family said they were “completely broken” and urged people to get together.

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“Put hatred aside and work for solidarity,” they said in a statement released by London police. “Regardless of race, religious or political belief, be tolerant and try to understand.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said Britain was looking at ways to increase legislators’ security.

“Within there are other options being considered, for example when doing your surgeries, can you have officers or some kind of protection …?” she told Sky News on Sunday, referring to meetings that British lawmakers have had with their constituents.

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