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Speculation whether lawmaker was targeted because of link to Qatar

A portrait of David Amess MP ahead of a service at St Michael's Church in Chalkwell, UK on 17 October 2021[Hollie Adams/Getty Images]
A portrait of David Amess MP ahead of a service at St Michael's Church in Chalkwell, UK on 17 October 2021 [Hollie Adams/Getty Images]

British police investigation into the murder of lawmaker Sir David Amess has been extended to his recent trip to Qatar. The Conservative MP was attacked and killed two days after his return from the Gulf state.

The 25-year-old suspect, Ali Harbi Ali, the son of a former advisor to the Prime Minister of Somalia was arrested at the scene and is being held under the Terrorism Act. He is believed to have been known to counterterrorist police and was once referred to the government's counter-extremism scheme, Prevent. However, he was not thought to have posed a significant security threat.

The police are exploring all avenues as to why the 69-year-old was targeted. One of the lines of inquiry is his close link to Doha.

The Gulf state of Qatar supports the current Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi. Amess was killed two days after returning from a parliamentary delegation to Doha. According to The Times, police are examining whether the work of Amess to foster friendship between Britain and the Gulf state might have contributed to his death.

READ: ICJ sides with Somalia in maritime border dispute with Kenya

In one of his last tweets which showed him shaking hands with the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the MP for Southend said a day before his murder "As Chairman of Qatar APPG, I was very pleased to meet the Emir during our recent delegation to Doha."

The report also stated that Amess was the British politician closest to Qatar. During his recent visit, Amess raised Southend's bid for city status. He told BBC Radio Essex: "I'm hoping to get Qatar behind it. I know that the majority of residents in Southend would welcome Qatari investment in Southend."

Doha has since released a statement on Sunday condemning the attack as "a horrific crime and a clear violation of human rights."

READ: Qatar ruler holds talks with Kurdish leader in Doha

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