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Dover firebomb assault was a terrorist attack, police concede

25th Nov 2022
Dover firebomb assault was a terrorist attack, police concede

Andrew Leak, 66, shared far-right conspiracy theories, much of which was Islamophobic. (Credit: Police).

Harun Nasrullah

The firebombing of a Dover-based migrant centre last month was motivated by a far-right terrorist ideology, police confirmed, after initially stating the culprit’s actions “may not necessarily meet the threshold of terrorism.”

Andrew Leak, who petrol-bombed a migrant processing centre on October 30, had also posted anti-Muslim rants on social media. The police initially refused to call it a terrorist attack. Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has yet to comment on the attack.

Leak, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, is believed to have thrown two or three incendiary devices from his car at the Western Jet Foil site. On November 5, Counter-Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) confirmed evidence recovered indicates the attack “was motivated by a terrorist ideology” and evidence recovered “suggests there was an extreme right-wing motivation behind the attack.”

Four days earlier, police had dismissed the allegation that the incident was a terrorist attack. “What appears clear is that this despicable offence was targeted and likely to be driven by some form of hate-filled grievance, though this may not necessarily meet the threshold of terrorism,” said CTPSE head, Det Ch Supt. Olly Wright.

Two staff members from the centre sustained minor injuries. Leak killed himself in his car in the car park of a nearby garage later that day.

Using the name Andy Leak, Leak posted anti-Muslim content on Facebook, including on July 24, when he wrote, “All Muslims are guilty of grooming, they never spoke out because it wasn’t their daughters; f****** animals wake up… They only rape non-Muslims; that’s a religious hate crime, are you f****** stupid.”

Criticism of police for refusing to label the incident as a terrorist attack

The police’s initial reluctance to treat and name the incident as a terrorist attack was widely slammed online,
Former Tory Party Chair, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, said, “Andrew Leak, the man suspected of firebombing a migrant centre, had a history of sharing far-right content and posting racist comments online, prompting questions about why it took the police days to treat the attack as an act of terrorism.”

“The counter-terror police say the actions of far-right; Muslim-hating Andrew Leak (throwing bombs at a refugee processing centre) may not “meet the threshold of terrorism.” We get it—you have to be a Muslim to meet the threshold of terrorism! #AndyLeak” tweeted Muslim journalist Roshan M Salih.

“Andrew Leak said he planned to “obliterate Muslim children” an hour before his firebomb attack in Dover, it has been revealed, amid continuing questions about why it took police so long to treat the incident as terrorism,” said Islamophobia researchers at Georgetown University-based The Bridge Initiative.

In October last year, Leak wrote that he had sent a parcel “to the British government,” warning it that “I will end illegal immigration into this country within one year from the French boat side.”

Leak also made no secret of his admiration for Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League. He pictured himself online wearing a Union Jack face mask, and frequently shared posts by Robinson and conspiracy theories by several far-right groups, including the New World Order, the Traditional Britain Group, and Turning Point UK.

He also “liked” several far-right groups on Facebook: Close UK Borders, God Hates Islam, and Patriots Party.

A spokesman for the PM refused to comment on the bomb attack, saying, “There is an ongoing police operation, so I cannot comment on what is taking place.”

Social media posts shared on Leak’s Facebook page contain anti-Muslim sentiments and complaints about non-English speakers. He wrote: “Next time the job centre sanctions your money for not looking for enough work, ask them about the thousands of people getting benefits who cannot speak English and cannot write English.”

Leak also shared an anti-royal family post, saying: “Prince Charles says he’s going to house Ukrainian refugees in one of his properties that belong to the British people. What about soldiers and members of the public sleeping in doorways? Disgrace. End the royal family now.”

Leak has been described by North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale as having “severe mental health difficulties.” Following the attack, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit was called to ensure there were no further threats. 700 people were moved to the Manston centre in Kent, around 20 miles away, for safety reasons.




Editorial: When’s a terrorist attack not a terrorist attack?

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