LONDON (AP) — British police charged a 25-year-old man Thursday with the murder of a Conservative lawmaker, alleging that the killing was an act of terrorism by a supporter of the Islamic State group.

Prosecutors said Ali Harbi Ali, a man from London with Somali heritage, had “religious and ideological motivations” when he attacked David Amess last week in the town of Leigh-on-Sea. Prosecutors say Ali targeted Amess for voting in support of Syrian air strikes.

Amess (69) was attending a routine meeting of his constituents when the murder occurred. A nation used to meeting face-to-face with its leaders was shaken by the slaying. This raised alarm about extremism.

At a briefing hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, prosecutor James Cable said Ali began planning to kill a lawmaker two years ago, and initially focused on two other politicians before choosing Amess.

Ali wasn’t asked to plead at the preliminary hearing. This lasted for less than fifteen minutes. As he entered court, he smiled at his lawyers and only spoke to confirm his name and age. He was placed under arrest until the next hearing.

Nick Price of the Crown Prosecution Service said the murder “has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations.”

Matt Jukes, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, said “no other arrests have been made and at this time we are not seeking anybody else in relation to this incident.”

Jukes claimed that detectives reviewed CCTV footage and searched multiple London addresses in order to analyze computers.

Amess’s death, after almost 40 years of service in Parliament, was made official by the Knighthood Queen Elizabeth II in 2015, escalated concerns about security among Britain’s politicians, who pride themselves on being accessible to their constituents.

Jo Cox, Labour Party lawmaker and murder victim was gunned down by an extremist far right five years prior to his assassination. Cox became the first British lawmaker killed in Northern Ireland since an agreement ended violence on large scales 30 years ago.

British politicians have armed police protection when they’re in Parliament, but are generally not protected in their homes.

Home Secretary Priti Patel told the House of Commons on Wednesday that intelligence officers had upgraded the threat level for politicians from “moderate” to “substantial,” though she said there was no “specific or imminent threat.”

On Monday, a special session of Parliament heard appeals for social media companies to stop the spreading of hate online that has poisoned political discourse.

Amess was a social conservative who opposed abortion, campaigned for animal rights and strongly supported Britain’s exit from the European Union. His civility and good humor, as well as his commitment to the constituents of Southend West (40 miles (60 km) east London, made him a favorite even among his political adversaries.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped Amess’ loved ones would “get the justice they deserve as fast as possible.”

“What we must not do is be intimidated by this appalling murder into changing the way we conduct our parliamentary business or the way we work in our constituencies,” he said. “Which I think is the last thing that David Amess would’ve wanted.”


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