Ali Harbi Ali, David Amess Murder Suspect: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

ali harbi ali

Getty Ali Harbi Ali is accused of killing David Amess.

Ali Harbi Ali is the suspect in the murder of British politician David Amess. He is a 25-year-old UK citizen of Somali descent, according to the BBC. He is accused of stabbing Amess in an act of terrorism. Amess was a Conservative Member of Parliament representing Southend West. Amess was killed in an attack during a constituency event at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday, October, 15, 2021.

Police have said Ali has extremist Islamic views, according to the BBC. He is being held under the Terrorism Act, the BBC reports. Ali’s father is a former political adviser in Somalia. The Metropolitan Police are investigating and have not formally named Ali as the suspect, saying only in public press releases that a 25-year-old man is in custody and is being questioned. Harbi Ali was identified as the suspect by multiple news outlets, citing police sources.

Amess, 69, is survived by his wife, Julia Arnold Amess, and their five children. He had represented Southend West in Parliament since 1997 and previously represented Basildon from 1983 until 1987. Amess’ family released a statement saying, ” “The family would like to thank everyone for the wonderful, wonderful tributes paid to David following his cruel and violent death. It truly has brought us so much comfort. The support shown by friends, constituents and the general public alike has been so overwhelming. As a family it has given us strength. We have realised from tributes paid that there was far, far more to David than even we, those closest to him, knew. Our hearts are shattered.”

Here’s what you need to know about Ali Harbi Ali:

1. Ali Harbi Ali Stabbed Amess After Making an Appointment to Meet Him & Was Then Arrested at the Scene of the Attack, Police Say

david amess suspect ali harbi

GettyPolice scene of crime officers attend following the stabbing of UK Conservative MP Sir David Amess as he met with constituents at a constituency surgery on October 15, 2021 in Leigh-on-Sea, England.

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.

According to Sky News, Ali made an appointment to see Amess for a meeting while he was 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, she came running in and saw poor David had been stabbed.”

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.”

2. Ali’s Father, Harbi Ali Kullane, a Former Adviser to Somalia’s Prime Minister, Said He Is ‘Traumatized’ by What Happened

ali harbi ali father harbi ali kullane

Twitter/Harbi Ali KullaneAli Harbi Ali’s father Harbi Ali Kullane.

Ali Harbi Ali is the son of Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to the Somali prime minister, according to The Times of London.

Harbi Ali Kullane told the Sunday Times, “I’m feeling very traumatized. It’s not something that I expected or even dreamed of.” The suspect’s father has not tweeted about Amess’ death or his son’s arrest on his Twitter page, which remains open to the public. His Twitter profile states, “Former Director of Media and Communication Dept. Office of The Prime Minister Federal Republic of Somalia.”

The suspect’s father told The Times he had been visited by investigators from Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism unit after his son was arrested. In 2016, Harbi Ali Kullane responded to the murder of another Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, tweeting, “#RIPJoCox devastated by the loss of a voice of the unrepresentative, my sympathies with her two children and family. @UKinSomalia” The Labour Party MP was stabbed multiple times during a constituency surgery by Thomas Mair, who had far-right views.

3. Ali Was Referred to the Anti-Terrorism Prevent Program ‘Some Years Ago,’ but Was Not Formally Investigated by MI5, the BBC Reports

ali harbi ali

GettyPolice forensics officers work at the scene of a fatal stabbing incident at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, a district of Southend-on-Sea, in southeast England on October 15, 2021.

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 he was not formally investigated by the security service.

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. It’s timely to do that, we have to learn, we obviously constantly have to learn, not just from incidences that have taken place but how we can strengthen our programmes. We want to ensure that it is fit for purpose, robust, doing the right thing but importantly learning lessons, always building upon what is working and addressing any gaps or issues where the system needs strengthening.”

4. Police Were Searching Multiple Homes in the London Area & Asked for the Public’s Help as They Investigate the Killing of Amess

ali harbi ali

GettyMembers of a police search team enter a residence on October 17, 2021 in the Kentish Town neighborhood of London, England. Ali Harbi Ali, the suspect in Friday’s killing of MP David Amess, was reported to have resided here, and the property was one of several being searched by Metropolitan police in connection with the case.

Police will be allowed to hold the suspect in custody until at least October 22, according to the press release from Met Police. The departments said, “On Saturday, 16 October, detectives were granted a warrant of further detention at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, allowing them to keep the man in custody until Friday, 22 October, when the warrant expires.”

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement, “As part of the fast-paced investigation, officers have attended three addresses in the London area and conducted searches. One of these searches has concluded and the others are ongoing. A post mortem examination has taken place today. Detectives would urge any witnesses or anyone with information about this incident to contact police. If you have any information that could assist the investigation, please call police in confidence on 0800 789 321.”

The department said, “Anyone with moving footage or pictures is asked to submit them via the UK Police Image Appeal website. We would remind media that with proceedings now active, nothing should be published that creates a substantial risk of serious prejudice or impediment to this case.”

According to the BBC, police were searching three addresses in London. The British news organization wrote, “It is thought a converted Victorian property in Lady Somerset Road in north-west London is linked to the investigation. Neighbours said officers started searching it late on Friday night. Further searches, also believed to be part of the inquiry, have been taking place at a property in Bounds Green Road, north London, and another in Cranmer Road, Croydon.”

5. Amess’ Family Asked People to ‘Set Aside Their Differences & Show Kindness & Love to All’

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GettyVicar Tom Loh speaks during a service for murdered MP Sir David Amess at St Michael’s and All Angels church on October 17, 2021 in Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom.

In their statement, released by police, Amess’ family said, “There was still so much David wanted to do – this we know from the events of the last few days. So, this is not the end of Sir David Amess MP. It is the next chapter and as a family we ask everyone to support the many charities he worked with. There are so many to mention, so find one close to your hearts and help.”

The Amess family added, “David had recently joined a campaign to help raise funds for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn. To him she epitomised the strength and courage of our nation. We would ask as many people as possible to support this and meet the target to complete the project. Closer to home, David was working hard for Southend to gain city status. In his memory, please show your support for this campaign.”

Amess’ family continued, “Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace. So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness. Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.”

The family concluded, “Please let some good come from this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.”

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