A man threw petrol bombs attached with fireworks at a new Border Force immigration center in the southern port of Dover, Kent, sparking a massive blaze before killing himself, police said on Sunday. Police are yet to name the suspect, who was a white man in a blue-and-white gingham shirt and drove up to the migrant center in a white Seat sports utility vehicle.
He then lobbed three petrol bombs, one of which did not go off, according to a photographer for Reuters. A harrowing video has emerged that captures the moment the unidentified man throws the petrol bombs before they blast. Two people have been reportedly injured in the attack.
Attack on Migrants?
Witnesses reported seeing a "laughing" man use up to three homemade bombs to attack the Western Jet Foil Center before he allegedly committed suicide at a nearby gas station on Sunday. The suspect was found dead at a petrol station shortly after he threw the bombs and fled the scene.
Photos show the moment the assailant threw a gasoline canister, which seemed to have a firework attached to it, at the Western Jet Foil facility. Witnesses reported hearing numerous explosions as "all hell broke loose" and claimed the unidentified suspect was "laughing" as he hurled the bombs.
Two people who were inside the center received minor wounds. The motive behind the attack and is still unknown. Police said that they have identified the attacker but did not reveal his name.
The suspected attacker had been "identified and located", Kent police said in a statement, confirming reports that the suspect had died while saying inquiries were ongoing. "Two people have reported minor injuries from inside the property. The suspect was identified, and very quickly located at a nearby petrol station, and confirmed deceased," the statement read.
"A further device was found and confirmed safe within the suspect's vehicle. The site remained open, however around 700 suspected migrants were relocated to Manston to ensure safety during the initial phase of the police investigation."
The attacker who fire-bombed the Dover migrant processing center drove more than 100 miles to the site before hurling three bombs. It is understood that authorities have not yet been able to prove a connection between the attacker and any far-right organizations.
Early investigations revealed the petrol bomber had not written any statements or posted anything else online that would have shown a connection to extremism, according to the Daily Mail.
A few minutes later, police arrived and blocked off the area. Staff members were seen extinguishing a small fire on the center's external wall in a video of the incident's aftermath. Police said that the migrants and other people nearby were lucky to escape the near-fatal attack.
The attack occurred at a facility housing an immigration center on the Dover Harbour side. Border Force agents transport those who have crossed the Channel in small boats to the complex. It happened after approximately 1,000 individuals crossed the Channel on Saturday and arrived in the UK.
However, police said that the incident is not being treated as terror-related.
"I was walking over a nearby bridge and I could see him throwing the bombs. They were making loud bangs. I think he threw about four or five. He was just laughing while he was doing it. It was crazy," a witness Gary Smith told the Sun.
Another witness told local publication Kent Online: "I heard what I thought was cannons going off and thought it must have been an event. We paused the TV to hear. There were at least six or seven. To think it was actually explosions that we heard is just so upsetting. I really hope no one is hurt."
Although the Dover location was still operational, about 700 suspected migrants were relocated to Manston, which is located roughly 15 miles (24 km) away, for their protection during the initial stages of the police inquiry.