A man threw petrol bombs attached to fireworks at a centre for processing migrants in the southern English port of Dover on Sunday (Oct 30) and then killed himself, a Reuters photographer said.
The attacker, a white man in a checked shirt, drove up to the centre in a white Seat sports utility vehicle at around 1120 GMT (7.20pm). He got out and threw three petrol bombs, one of which failed to go off, the photographer said.
The motive for the attack was not known. Local police said they were not treating it as a terrorist incident and were keeping an open mind.
It comes at a time when British policy towards migrants and asylum seekers is a heated political issue.
The Dover facility is the first stop for thousands of people who make the dangerous journey across the English Channel before they are sent to other accommodation while their claims to stay in Britain are reviewed.
Kent police said two to three incendiary devices were thrown outside and into the premises by a person in a car.
“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,” a police statement said.
Police added that they had found a further device inside the attacker’s vehicle, which had been confirmed safe.
The number of people attempting the dangerous crossing over the Channel to enter Britain has risen sharply. The government is facing criticism from some quarters that border controls are too weak, while charities and human rights groups say asylum seekers are being treated inhumanely.
On Saturday, The Times reported that decisions made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman led directly to overcrowding and outbreaks of scabies and diphtheria at a different migrant processing centre in Kent, citing multiple government sources.
Braverman said on Sunday there had been “a distressing incident” in Dover.
“My thoughts are with those affected, the tireless Home Office staff and police responding. We must now support those officers as they carry out their investigation,” she said.