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Alleged murderer of UK lawmaker David Amess had terrorist links, court hears


By Sharon Braithwaite, CNN

A man charged with the murder of British politician David Amess had links to the ISIS terror group and targeted the MP due to his support for air strikes on Syria, a court in London heard Thursday.

Ali Harbi Ali, 25 and from London, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a hearing that lasted 13 minutes, the UK’s PA Media news agency reported.

The court heard that Ali had started planning to kill a Member of Parliament two years ago, initially focusing on two other politicians. He reportedly visited the Houses of Parliament, the home of one MP and the constituency surgery of the other in order to carry out reconnaissance, PA added.

Amess was stabbed to death in his constituency east of London last week.

Ali traveled from his home in London to meet with Amess after saying he would be moving to the constituency, according to prosecutors.

Ali was allegedly seen on his cellphone during the meeting, before stabbing Amess in the stomach with a large knife that he took from his pocket, the court heard.

Amess died at the scene at 1.10 p.m. local time (8.10 a.m. ET) due to multiple stab wounds to the chest, according to a preliminary post-mortem report seen by PA.

Ali was also charged with the preparation of terrorist acts, Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, said in a statement.

“We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations,” Price said.

“He has also been charged with the preparation of terrorist acts. This follows a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation,” Price added.

Ali is due to the appear at the Old Bailey court in London on Friday.

The killing of Amess, a popular Member of Parliament in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party, shocked the nation and prompted calls for a review of security measures for lawmakers carrying out constituency work.

Amess, 69, died after being stabbed several times at around midday Friday at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England. This was the second killing of a sitting British lawmaker in five years.

He entered Parliament in 1983, initially representing the Basildon constituency, and had served continuously in the House of Commons since then, making him one of the longest-serving lawmakers in the chamber.

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum spoke Friday of their sadness, concern, and anger that another of their colleagues was killed while meeting with constituents.

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