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Burning SUV rammed into Scotland airport

June 30, 2007

Glascow, Scotland - A burning SUV driven at full speed has been rammed into the terminal building of Glasgow Airport in Scotland, British police confirmed.

A burning SUV has been rammed into the terminal building of Glasgow Airport in Scotland.

Police and witnesses described an SUV-style vehicle in flames being driven at full speed towards the building.

Two people were arrested at the scene, police said in a statement.

The incident comes with the UK already on alert for terror attacks a day after two cars loaded with explosives were discovered in London.

An eyewitness at the airport speaking to a British TV network said there appeared to be injuries. Images showed black smoke and flames rising from the vehicle just outside the building.

Witnesses said the car crashed into security barriers protecting an entrance to the airport's international arrivals terminal.

A witness told Sky News that a man had fled from the car as it struck the building and been immediately wrestled to the ground by police.

"The jeep is completely on fire and it exploded not long after. It exploded at the entrance to the terminal," one witness, Stephen Clarkson, told the BBC.

"It may have been an explosion of petrol in the tank because it was not a massive explosion."

Airport authorities said the airport had been evacuated and all flights suspended.

In London police were examining the two cars and studying CCTV footage for clues about the identities of those behind a suspected terrorist plot that could have killed hundreds.

Officers have a "crystal clear" CCTV image of a man "staggering" from the first car after parking it outside a West End nightclub, ABC News in the United States reported. Scotland Yard refused to comment.

New Prime Minister Gordon Brown went to Scotland Yard on Saturday morning for an update on the investigation from senior police.

A Downing Street spokesman told the Press Association: "It was a private meeting. Mr. Brown was briefed on the current security situation and thanked frontline staff."

Meanwhile, police increased patrols across the British capital in the hunt for what they said was a man seen running from one of the cars in the early hours of Friday.

British officials said hundreds of people could have been killed if the devices in the cars had been set off.

The first car was discovered parked near Piccadilly Circus; the second was found about an hour later, less than a kilometer away near Trafalgar Square.

Scotland Yard authorities said they believed the two incidents were connected.

London police said the second car -- containing fuel, gas canisters and nails -- was "clearly linked" to the first explosives-packed car found outside a nightclub on Haymarket.

A "considerable" amount of fuel and gas canisters, along with a "substantial quantity of nails," was found in the blue Mercedes-Benz 280E, said Peter Clarke, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner.

He said the second device, like the first, was "potentially viable" but was rendered safe by police explosives officers.

"These vehicles are clearly linked," he said.

The first car was discovered about 1:30 a.m. when an ambulance crew called to treat an ill person noticed what appeared to be smoke inside the car and notified authorities.

The car was parked in front of the Tiger Tiger club on Haymarket, and the discovery prompted the closing of several streets until the vehicle was hauled off nine hours later.

"In the car, they found significant quantities of petrol together with a number of gas cylinders," Clarke said. He could not immediately say how much fuel was there.

"I can tell you it was in several large containers," Clarke said. "There were also a large number of nails in the vehicle."

He said explosives officers manually disabled "a potential means of detonation for the gas and the fuel in the vehicle," which preserved crucial forensic evidence for investigators.

Clarke said it was too early to determine if the smoke the ambulance crew saw was an indication that the car bomb had been activated but failed to explode.

A cell phone was found as part of the device in the silver car, according to security sources with knowledge of the investigation, although it was not immediately known what role the phone may have played in the device. The sources said the device was apparently set up to be remotely detonated.

Metropolitan Police Counterterrorism Command officers are reviewing closed-circuit security camera video to see if they can determine who parked the car there, Clarke said.

Witness Daniel Weir said he was walking home from work when he noticed police had cordoned off the area around the nightclub and a nearby vehicle.

He snapped several photos, including one that showed a canister labeled "patio gas."

A second Mercedes was given a parking ticket on Cockspur Street at about 2:30 a.m. local time, Clarke said.

At about 3:30 a.m., Clarke said, the vehicle was taken to an underground car park at Hyde Park. Security sources earlier said that workers who towed it thought the car smelled of petrol, and became suspicious because of the reports that petrol was among the explosive materials found in the first vehicle.

He called the discovery of the second bomb "troubling," but urged the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious behavior to authorities.

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