Saturday, June 30, 2007
Glasgow International Airport in Renfrewshire, Scotland was evacuated after a green Jeep Cherokee struck the airport’s terminal building and burst into flames at 1511 BST.
An eyewitness told the BBC that “[A] man was on fire.” All flights are grounded, and two men have been arrested and the United Kingdom has raised the national threat level to “critical” which means another terror attack is imminent.
Eyewitnesses described a Jeep speeding toward the building with flames coming out from underneath. They also reported seeing two Asian men in the car, one of whom was on fire.
|We saw a green Cherokee drive straight into the front door of the airport but it got jammed. They were obviously trying to get it further inside the airport as the wheels were spinning and smoke was coming from them. One of the men, I think it was the driver, brought out a plastic petrol canister and poured it under the car. He then set light to it.|
The BBC quoted an eyewitness as saying that two attempts were made to ram the Jeep through the wall, and that the passenger was holding a lit Molotov Cocktail and made several attempts to throw the bottle.
The Strathclyde Police Chief announced that the event is being linked to the earlier attempted car bombings in London, and as such is being treated as a terrorist investigation.
Eyewitnesses are now saying that one of the two men was pouring bottles of petrol into the car’s interior and onto himself, before running from the car, on fire, into the main terminal building. Witnesses have also reported that gas cylinders were removed by bystanders from the burning vehicle.
According to the BBC, the driver of the vehicle put up a violent struggle before being overpowered by the police and public. One person who tackled him was Stephen Clarkson, a member of the public.
Richard Gray, an eyewitness to the event, stated “There was an Asian guy who was pulled out of the car by two police officers.”
Seven people have been taken to local hospitals with injuries.
Police said that this incident was a deliberate attempt and not a road accident. Officials have also said that the incident is connected to earlier attempted car bombings in London the day before.
Two people have been arrested, one of whom was badly burned. Seven known casualties, including the Asian male have been taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley.
While the suspect was being treated in the hospital, a suspect device was discovered in the hospital, resulting in the partial evacuation of the building while the device was moved to a safe area. This object later turned out to be mundane, although initial reports believed it to be a suicide belt.
|The first duty of the Government is the security and safety of all the British people, So it is right to raise the levels of security at airports and in crowded places in the light of the heightened threat. I know that the British people will stand together: united, resolute and strong.|
The BBC announced that the Prime Minister is being kept fully informed. He chaired a meeting of Civil Contingencies Committee (COBRA) at 1900 (BST), after which the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced that the national threat level been elevated from “Severe” to “Critical”, meaning another attack is expected “imminently.”
Officials at Edinburgh Airport have said that all cars are being turned away from the airport, and at Heathrow in London, passengers are being advised not to bring private cars near to the terminal buildings. Some passengers were kept waiting in planes while the area was secured.
The first bomber, who was taken to Govan high security prison, has now been interviewed, though no further statements from Strathclyde police have been forthcoming. The second bomber, who was taken to the Royal Alexandria hospital in Paisley, is listed in critical condition tonight, and is being kept under 24-hour guard.
2,300 passengers who were due to set off from Glasgow Airport today have been driven by coach to a conference centre, where a reception area has been set up for them.
Two people were arrested by The Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch on the M6 motorway in Cheshire in connection with the Glasgow International Airport attack and attempted London car bombings.
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to hold another COBRA meeting with other members of the Cabinet today. This will be the fifth COBRA meeting in 48 hours.
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