An attacker threw firebombs at a processing center for migrants at an English port on Sunday, causing a small fire and one minor injury, police said. He then drove away from the installation in Dover and killed himself, Reuters reports. He had driven up in an SUV, gotten out of the vehicle, and tossed two or three petrol bombs attached with fireworks, police said, adding that they've identified the attacker. The man went to a nearby gas station, officials said, where he killed himself. One witness said smoke over the center "went well into the air, and the smell and noise was like a war zone," per the BBC.
The Dover center takes in many migrants arriving in small boats after crossing the English Channel from France, per the AP, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The number of people making the crossing in recent years has posted a steep increase; 40,000 have arrived so far this year in the UK, after totals of 8,000 last year and 8,500 in 2020. Nearly 1,000 people landed in Dover on Saturday, per the Guardian. "Tensions have been rising" over the number of migrants reaching Dover, said Nathalie Elphicke, a Conservative lawmaker who represents the area in Parliament.
The attack was followed by appeals for politicians to stop using anti-immigrant rhetoric. Clare Moseley of Care4Calais said threats against her group are on the rise. "We are seeing an escalation in hate on social media and threats against our volunteers," she said. "The rhetoric from this government’s ministers is shocking and divisive. They call refugees in Calais 'illegal immigrants' despite extensive evidence they are genuine refugees in desperate need of help." (Read more migrants stories.)