Attack on UK immigration centre ‘terrorist’ incident, police say

The firebombing of a processing centre in English town was ‘motivated by a terrorist ideology’, police say.

A man throws an object out of a car window
A man throws an object out of a car window next to the Border Force centre after a firebomb attack in Dover, UK [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]

British police have said a petrol bomb attack on an immigration centre in Dover last week was motivated by extreme right-wing ideology.

Nobody was seriously hurt in the October 30 incident in the southern English port town, and police said 66-year-old Andrew Leak, who was found dead at a nearby service station soon after the attack, had apparently acted alone.

“Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) … have recovered evidence that indicates the attack at an immigration centre in Dover on Sunday, 30 October 2022, was motivated by a terrorist ideology,” the body said in a statement on Saturday.

“There is currently nothing to suggest the offender was working alongside anyone else and there is not believed to be any wider threat to the public,” the police statement said.

Tim Jacques, senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing, added that while there were “strong indications that mental health was likely a factor”, he had concluded that the “suspect’s actions were primarily driven by an extremist ideology”.

These met the “threshold for a terrorist incident”, he said.

Homemade incendiary devices were thrown at the Western Jet Foil Border Force centre in Dover on Sunday, leaving two staff with minor injuries.

The Dover immigration facility is the first stop for thousands of people who made the dangerous journey across the English Channel to seek asylum in the United Kingdom.

Immigration has become a heated political issue in Britain.

Since the beginning of the year, an unprecedented 38,000 people have made the perilous journey, the government’s home affairs select committee was told on October 26.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the UK is a compassionate and welcoming place for asylum seekers, but this depends on the country being able to effectively police its borders.

The UK’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier this week caused outrage – and earned a rebuke from the new UN rights chief – for describing the arrivals as an “invasion”.

Source: News Agencies