Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 1 News List

UK police make arrests after attacks

AUDACIOUS ASSAULT Two men who drove a flaming jeep into the main entrance of Glasgow's airport are under arrest, one of them under police guard in a hospital


Police searched several houses near Glasgow International Airport and made a fifth arrest yesterday in connection with an attack on its main terminal and a foiled car bomb plot in London.

Britain's new prime minister warned that it is clear the country is dealing with terrorists associated with al-Qaeda.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a nationally televised interview that Britons must realize that the terrorist threat Britain faces is "long-term and sustained." He said it was "clear that we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaeda."

Lord Stevens, Brown's terrorism adviser, said the two attacks in Britain indicate that "al-Qaeda has imported the tactics of Baghdad and Bali to the streets of the UK."

On Friday, police thwarted an apparent plot to set off a coordinated bomb attack in central London when an ambulance crew spotted smoke coming from a Mercedes found rigged with explosives. They found a second Mercedes filled with explosives hours later.

And on Saturday, two men rammed a flaming jeep into the main entrance of Glasgow's airport, shattering the glass doors and sparking a raging fire just meters from people lined up at the check-in counters on the first day of summer vacation for Glaswegian schoolchildren.

The two men were in police custody yesterday, one of them under guard in hospital after being engulfed in flames when the jeep crashed.

Early yesterday, police arrested two others on a major highway in Cheshire, northern England, in a joint swoop by officers from London and Birmingham, Scotland Yard said in London, and a fifth suspect was arrested in Liverpool, police there said.

Police authorities said officers were searching a residential area about 12km west of central Glasgow -- an area about 1.6km from the airport. In Houston, a small town just outside Glasgow, police cordoned off the area around a two-story house to search it.

The two attacks clearly are linked, police and security officials said, noting that all three vehicles contained large amounts of flammable materials -- including gasoline and gas cylinders.

Britain raised its security alert level to "critical" -- the highest possible level, indicating terror attacks may be imminent as the attacks raised fears that the type of car bomb attacks now commonplace in Iraq has now reached European shores.

The new terror threat presents Brown with an enormous challenge early in his term.

Brown, a Scot who replaced Tony Blair as prime minister just last Wednesday, urged Britons to remain "constantly vigilant" about security.

"Everything is being done in our power ... to protect people's lives," he said.

Lord Stevens, London's former police chief, called it a major escalation in the campaign waged by Islamic militants.

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