Car bomb defused in central London

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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Mercedes-Benz on Haymarket covered by a tent
Image: Snapper Jack / Eye Spy Mag.

A car containing an large explosive device has been defused in the Haymarket, London. A second device was later found in a car park in Park Lane.

A car, a light metallic green Mercedes-Benz E Class saloon (produced 1984-1995), parked near the nightclub 'TigerTiger', contained petrol, gas cylinders and nails. Police described it as a "potentially viable explosive device".

Police carried out a controlled explosion at 2:00 a.m. BST and the car has been taken to a forensic explosives laboratory for further investigation.

Eyewitnesses saw the car driving "erratically" and colliding with bins before being abandoned. An ambulance crew in the area alerted police after seeing smoke inside the car.

Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Clarke said there could have been "significant injury or loss of life".

A meeting of COBRA, chaired by new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was held about the incident.

Police say it is too early to tell who is behind the threat. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the country faces a "serious and continued security threat" and urged people to "be vigilant at all times".

Disruption has been caused to transport in the area with roads closed and bus routes diverted. Piccadilly Circus tube station has reopened after an earlier closure

Police are reviewing major events to be held in London over the weekend.

CBS News has reported that a message appeared on the widely used jihadist Internet forum Al-Hesbah at 8:09 a.m. June 28, saying: "Today I say: Rejoice, by Allah, London shall be bombed." The message went on to mention the recently announced knighthood of Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

Following an incident at Glasgow airport, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the elevation of the UK's national threat level from "Severe" to "Critical", indicating that an attack could be expected "imminently".

Two people have been arrested in Cheshire in connection with the Glasgow International Airport attack and attempted London car bombings.

Park Lane

Park Lane was closed to the public due to a suspicious car parked in the underground car park beneath Hyde Park. Police, who believed the two incidents to be linked, cordoned off Park Lane and Hyde Park to allow the bomb disposal unit access to the vehicle. The car was illegally parked on Cockspur Street and was towed to the pound on Park Lane, it was then discovered that the car contained an explosive device.

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