BRITAIN could face a deadly wave of lone wolf terror attacks by "bedroom radicals", security experts have warned.
It comes after Tory MP Sir David Amess was knifed during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday.
And last night it was revealed his suspected killer Ali Harbi Ali was radicalised after watching YouTube videos of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, his former friends claimed.
The revelation has sparked panic that others may have been radicalised by extremism from the comfort of their own homes during the pandemic.
Col Richard Kemp, a former government adviser on terrorism, told The Mirror: “It has long been felt within the counter-terror community that the threat from so-called bedroom radicals would escalate because of... lockdowns.
“It is possible the isolation has made them more introspective and angry – worse, they have been vulnerable to internet radicalisation. And it is possible that this has contributed to this killer’s state of mind.”
Col Kemp also warned of further attacks by jihadi fanatics emboldened by the Taliban's recent victory over Afghanistan.
He told The Sun: “It is highly likely the murder was inspired by the Taliban’s defeat of the US, UK and the West in Afghanistan. Jihadists across the world have been celebrating since our withdrawal. We can expect more attacks in this country.”
Meanwhile another security source told The Telegraph: “Counterterror police and MI5 have been concerned for some time that once we emerged out of lockdown there would be more people out on the streets and more targets for the terrorists.
“Combined with the fact that lots of young people have been spending so much time online, it makes for a very worrying mix and there is a real concern about the possible rise of the bedroom radicals.”
Ali’s phone is now playing a crucial role in the police investigation.
Immediate analysis is understood to have shown messages, web searches and links that pointed to an Islamist extremist.
It led police to declare a terrorist incident within hours of Sir David’s death, rather than delaying for further forensic checks.
So far no direct links between Ali and Sir David have emerged.
Ali had been referred to the Government’s Prevent anti-terrorism programme. Sources said his details were passed on to local police in the past few weeks.
One new line of inquiry last night was the Southend West MP was targeted in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, because his constituency surgeries were so well advertised online.
'STRONG AND COURAGEOUS'
Last night David’s wife Julia and five children paid tribute to the "courageous" MP in a touching statement.
They told how they are "enormously proud" of their husband and father, saying: "Our hearts are shattered."
The statement read: “Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace.
“So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all.
"This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.
“Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.
“As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.
“Please let some good come from this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.”