A Jeep Cherokee trailing a cascade of flames rammed into Glasgow airport on Saturday, shattering glass doors just yards from passengers at the check-in counters.
Police said they believed the attack was linked to two car bombs found in London the day before.
Britain raised its terror alert to "critical" - the highest
possible level - and the Bush administration announced plans to
increase security at airports and on mass transit.
One of the men in the car was in critical condition at a
hospital with severe burns, while the other was in police custody,
said Scottish Police Chief Constable Willie Rae. He said a
"suspect device" was found on the man at the hospital and it was
taken to a safe location where it was being investigated.
Rae would not say whether the device was a suicide belt. British
security officials said evidence pointed toward the Glasgow attack
being a suicide mission.
"I can confirm that we believe the incident at Glasgow airport
is linked to the events in London yesterday," Rae said. "There
are clearly similarities and we can confirm that this is being
treated as a terrorist incident."
Police foiled the plot Friday after two cars were found in
central London packed with explosives - one outside a nightclub
near Piccadilly Circus and another parked nearby.
A British government security official said the methods used in
the airport attack and Friday's thwarted plots were similar, with
all three vehicles carrying large quantities of flammable liquid.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the information.
Police and MI5 had no specific intelligence warning of a plan to
attack Scotland, but they have monitored a host of suspected
terrorists and plots there, he said. It was not yet clear whether
there was an international element to the planning or funding of
the attacks, the official said.
The new terror threat presents Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a
Scot who took office on Wednesday, with an enormous challenge and
comes at a time of already heightened vigilance one week before the
anniversary of the July 7 London transit attacks, which killed 52
"I know that the British people will stand together, united,
resolute and strong," Brown said Saturday in a televised
President Bush was being kept informed of the situation, the
White House said. "We're in contact with British authorities on
the matter," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National
Security Council, in Washington.
The green Jeep barreled toward Glasgow's main airport terminal
shortly after 3 p.m. Leeson said bollards - security posts outside
the entrance - stopped the driver from driving into the bustling
terminal, but the nose of the vehicle smashed the glass doors.
"If he'd got through, he'd have killed hundreds, obviously,"
Photographs from the scene showed the car hit the building at
an angle and was poking into the terminal. The Jeep struck the
building directly in front of check-in counters, where dozens of
passengers were lined up, police said.
Lynsey McBean, a witness at the terminal, said the driver kept
trying to push the car forward after it got stuck, and "the wheels
were spinning and smoke was coming from them."
She said one of the men then took out a plastic gasoline
canister and poured a liquid under the car. "He then set light to
it," said McBean, 26, from Erskine, Scotland.
Police subdued the driver and a passenger, both described by
witnesses as South Asian - a term used to refer to people from
India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries in the region. The
previous round of terrorist activity in Britain, in July 2005, was
largely carried out by local Muslims, raising ethnic tensions in
Witnesses said one of the men was engulfed in flames and spoke
"gibberish" as an official used a fire extinguisher to douse the
Rae said one bystander was taken to the hospital with a leg
The airport was evacuated and all flights suspended. Police said
Liverpool Airport and roads around Edinburgh were also closed.
The attack left passengers shaken and stranded on the first day
of summer vacation for Glasgow schools. At the time of the crash,
the airport was bustling with families heading out on vacation.
Meanwhile in London, police were gathering evidence from closed
circuit television footage, as forensics experts searched for clues
into the foiled bombings. The two Mercedes cars had been loaded
with gasoline, gas canisters and nails in one of the capital's
busiest areas on a night when Londoners like to go out and party.
Security officials and police denied an ABC News report that they
had a "crystal clear" picture of one suspect from CCTV footage.
The vehicles were found abandoned in the early hours of Friday
in what police believe was an attempt to kill scores or even
hundreds of people. Detectives said they were keeping an open mind
about the bombers' identities, but terrorism experts said the signs
pointed to a cell linked to or inspired by al-Qaida.
One car was abandoned outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub on
Haymarket in the heart of London's entertainment district. The
other had been towed after being parked illegally on nearby
Cockspur Street and was discovered in an impound lot about a mile
away in Park Lane, near Hyde Park.
Brown came to office pledging to win back the support of voters
disenchanted over the Iraq war. But he backed Tony Blair's decision
to send troops to Iraq in 2003 and has shown support for greater
anti-terror measures that have angered Britain's some 1.8 million
The airport incident carried reminders of a foiled plot in
December 1999 to attack Los Angeles International Airport, when
customs agents stopped an Algerian-born man in a car packed with
124 of explosives. He was jailed for 22 years and prosecutors said
he was intent on bombing the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the