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British Government Raises Threat Level to Critical after Attack at Glasgow Airport


Eyewitnesses at Glasgow airport say the vehicle drove straight into the terminal building in what appeared to be an attempt to crash through the entry way. It was in flames and one of the men inside the car was also reported on fire.

Witnesses reported a scuffle between police and the two occupants of the car before both were subdued, handcuffed and led away. All flights were suspended, the airport closed down and police cordoned off the area.

The Glasgow incident comes amid already heightened tension in Britain after two explosive-laden vehicles were discovered in London early Friday.

Terrorism experts say indications are those incidents were the work of Islamic extremists either linked to or inspired by al-Qaida.

Police have stepped up patrols in London and a search is under way for a man seen running from a Mercedes car that contained gas canisters, gasoline, nails and a cell phone that was believed intended to be the detonator.

The car was abandoned in the Haymarket district of London -- an area full of nightclubs, restaurants and theaters. It raised suspicion when ambulance drivers called to a nearby nightclub about an accident noticed smoke coming from the Mercedes and called in police.

There are reports one of the policemen found the cell phone and removed it from the vehicle -- thus averting an explosion.

Later on Friday a second car was found parked illegally in an underground parking area and was towed to an impound lot, where police later discovered similar explosive materials.

The head of London's anti-terrorism police, Peter Clarke, said Friday's incidents are clearly linked, and he said had they not been found in time, the car bombs could have killed hundreds of people. Britain's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she is satisfied that all is being done to protect the public.

"The police are clear that the most important contribution that the public can make is to carry on reporting anything suspicious and to be vigilant, and I'd ask them to do that."

Friday's attempted bombings came just two days after Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair as Britain's new prime minister.

Mr. Brown called for heightened vigilance on part of the entire population amidst this latest threat. Next week, Britain marks the second anniversary of the July seventh bombings, in which four Muslim suicide bombers set off explosions on London's transport system that killed 52 bus and subway passengers.

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