Police link Glasgow Airport attack to foiled London bombs
In both the London and Glasgow attacks, automobiles appeared to have been rigged as fuel-air bombs, fuelled by both petrol and propane gas, says Scottish Police Chief Constable.Updated: Jul 02, 2007, 05:32 IST
Scottish police has said the blazing car attack on Glasgow Airport seemed linked to Friday's foiled car bombings in London.
"There are clearly similarities," Scottish Police Chief Constable William Rae told a press conference on Saturday. "And we can confirm that this is being treated as a terrorist incident."
In both the London and Glasgow attacks, automobiles appeared to have been rigged as fuel-air bombs, fuelled by both petrol and propane gas. Broadcaster BBC reported late on Saturday that the wreckage of the Jeep Cherokee contained several propane cylinders, as did the undetonated London car bombs.
The vehicle burst into flames just as it crashed into the glass front doors of the check-in terminal about 3.15 pm (1415 GMT) but did not deliver a fully explode.
The car did not fully enter the terminal building, but the ensuring fire did extensive damage. Police investigators were awaiting clearance from firefighters to approach the Jeep wreckage, which Rae described as "highly unstable."
London's Metropolitan Police confirmed on Sunday two more people have been arrested in connection with the attempted attacks in London and Glasgow.
"Officers from the Met's counterterrorism command supported by officers from the West Midlands counterterrorism unit made the arrests in Cheshire," a police statement said.
There were no details except that that the people were detained "in connection with the events in London and Scotland." The arrests are the first away from the scene of Saturday's fiery car attack on Glasgow Airport.
The British government raised its security alert to critical, the highest level, after Saturday's attack. The critical alert, highest of five steps on the government's security scale, indicates that authorities believe further attacks are imminent.
One of the two suspects arrested after climbing out of the blazing Jeep was being treated at Royal Alexandria Hospital in nearby Paisley.
Rae said that the suspect had suffered severe burns and was in critical condition. Witnesses said that the man's hair and much of his clothes and skin were burned off.
A suspicious device was found "on his person," and the hospital's emergency ward was evacuated until the device could be safely removed from the building, Rae said.
BBC later reported that the device was an explosive suicide belt, which Rae had refused to confirm.
The second suspect subdued and arrested at the airport was being held at high-security Govan police station.
One civilian suffered a leg injury at the airport that Rae described as not life threatening.
The Glasgow attack took place during the busiest week of the summer holiday season at the crowded airport. Some passengers whose flights were awaiting take off at the time of the attack remained stuck aboard parked aircraft for eight hours or more, and 2,300 stranded passengers were eventually transferred to overnight quarters at an exhibition centre in central Glasgow.
"There was no suggestion prior to the incident that Scotland was going to be attacked," Rae said.
Newly installed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, still in his first week in office, held a third meeting in two days of the government's crisis committee, the so-called Cobra, to discuss the Glasgow incident.
"It is right to raise the level at airports and crowded places in the light of the heightened threat," he said following the meeting.
Brown praised police and security officials for their work since Friday and urged Britons to support authorities in efforts to investigate the latest incidents and prevent further attacks.
"I know that the British people wills stand together, united, resolute and strong," he said.
One terrorism expert told broadcaster Sky News that the Glasgow attack, if linked to the incidents in London, appeared to signal the "start of a campaign."
An airport witness told broadcasters that he heard one suspect shouting "something Allah" while scuffling with police.
Police are studying footage of the incident from security cameras. Rae said that investigators were seeking cooperation from an estimated 20 to 30 people who were outside the terminal when the Jeep drove onto the curb and against the doors.
Investigators from Scotland Yard in London were reported to be on the way to assist Scottish police.
The airport attack took place as British Queen Elizabeth II was in Edinburgh for Saturday's opening of the Scottish Parliament.
Meanwhile, the weekend in London was dominated by major public events including the ongoing Wimbledon tennis championships, Saturday's gay-pride parade.
Authorities said that Sunday's Concert for Diana, organized by Princes William and Harry to mark the 10th anniversary of their mother's death, would continue as scheduled at the new Wembley Stadium with a lineup led by pop stars Elton John, Tom Jones and Duran Duran.