Man hurls firebombs at UK immigration center, kills himself

LONDON (AP) — An attacker threw firebombs an immigration center in the English port town of Dover on Sunday before killing himself, officials said. One other person was lightly injured.

The Kent Police force said “two to three incendiary devices” were thrown at the facility where recently arrived migrants are taken, and “one minor injury has been reported.” The Kent Fire and Rescue Service said its crews had put out fires at the site.

A news photographer at the scene said a man drove up and threw three gas bombs at the facility before driving to a nearby gas station and killing himself.

Local lawmaker Natalie Elphicke said the center had been “firebombed with (a) number of devices” and “the man thought responsible killed himself shortly thereafterwards.”

“I understand that all the people who are at the center are being looked after and precautions are being made for their safety," she said.

Dover is the arrival point for many migrants who cross the English Channel from France in small boats. The number of people making the hazardous journey across one of the world's busiest shipping lanes has risen sharply in recent years, with 40,000 reaching the U.K. so far this year, up from 28,000 in all of 2021 and 8,500 in 2020.

Dozens have died, including 27 people in November 2021 when a packed smuggling boat capsized.

Britain and France have wrangled over how to stop the people-smuggling gangs that organize the journeys.

Britain's Conservative government has announced a controversial plan to send people who arrive in small boats on a one-way journey to Rwanda. Critics say the plan is immoral and impractical, and it is being challenged in the courts.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said he was being kept updated on the incident by police.

“My sympathies are with those involved and my thanks and admiration are with Kent Police and Border Force officers as they go about their essential work to keep us safe," he said.

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The Associated Press