Police thwarted an apparent terror attack Friday, discovering a parked silver Mercedes that was packed with gas containers and a large number of nails. The attack would have caused "significant injury or loss of life," police said.
A British security official told The Associated Press that there
were similarities between the device and vehicle bombs used by
insurgents in Iraq.
"Forensic staff are still examining the device, but once we
know more about it, we'll know more about what type of individuals
are behind this," said the official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity because of the sensitivity of the security details.
The official said Britain's domestic spy agency MI5 also would
examine possible connections between Friday's incident and at least
two similar foiled plots - including a planned attack on a West End
nightclub in 2004 and a thwarted attempt to use limousines packed
with gas canisters to attack targets in London and New York.
Officers were called to The Haymarket shortly before 2 a.m., a
police statement said. Sky News cited witnesses as saying doormen
from a nearby nightclub had reported that someone had crashed a
Mercedes sedan into garbage bins and ran away.
The Haymarket is the site of restaurants, bars, a cinema complex
and theaters, and there would have been crowds in the area.
The incident comes a week before the second anniversary of the
July 7 London bombings, when four British Muslim suicide bombers
killed themselves and 52 bus and subway passengers.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who took office on Wednesday, said
the incident was a reminder that Britain faces "a serious and
continuous threat" and the "need to be alert."
"I will stress to the Cabinet that the vigilance must be
maintained over the next few days," Brown said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)