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British police declared the fatal stabbing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess a “terrorist incident” late Friday evening.
“The fatal stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea has tonight been declared as a terrorist incident, with the investigation being led by Counter Terrorism Policing,” the London Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement. “The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.”
Police said they arrested a 25-year-old suspect who is currently being held in a station in Essex.
“It is believed that he acted alone, and we are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this time,” police said. “However, enquiries into the circumstances continue.”
Amess was attacked during a meeting with constituents at a church in the town of Leigh-on-Sea, east of London. The lawmaker, who had served in Parliament since 1983, was married with five children.
Amess “was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement on Friday. “We lost today a fine public servant.”
Johnson and opposition Labour Party head Keir Starmer visited Leigh-on-Sea on Saturday to pay tribute to Amess.
The attack on Amess was the second killing of a British politician within five years. In 2016, a man with white supremacist sympathies murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox.
British lawmakers are not given armed police protection outside of Parliament.