Police say the area will be closed for some time
Police have made safe a suspected car bomb in the heart of London.Officers carried out a controlled explosion afterreports of a suspicious vehicle parked in The Haymarket shortly before0200 BST (0100 GMT).
The immediate area was cordoned off while police examined what they described as a “potentially viable explosive device“.
There are unconfirmed reports that gas canisters were removed from the back of the car, close to Piccadilly Circus.
The government’s emergency unit Cobra has called a meeting and the new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is due to attend.
One police source said the bomb was a “big device” andposed a real and substantial threat to the area around The Haymarket,which is in London’s theatreland.
A witness reported seeing gas canisters being removedfrom the car, believed to be a silver Mercedes, at around 0400 BST(O300 GMT).
Bouncers from a nearby nightclub said they saw the carbeing driven erratically before it crashed into a bin. They said thedriver then got out and ran off.
Dozens of forensic officers were today poring over the scene, which was covered by a blue plastic police tent.
Scotland Yard said detectives from Counter TerrorismCommand were investigating the potential bomb plot and will be checkingall the close circuit cameras in the area.
[…] Piccadilly Circus Tube station is closed and trains are not stopping, while local bus services are being diverted.
The BBC’s Daniela Relph, at the scene, said the heart ofLondon was completely closed off and police officers were concentratingon keeping people away.
People are unable to get to work
Thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work.
Professor Paul Wilkinson, a terrorism expert, said a passer-by had tipped off the police and officers would be concerned they did not have advanced intelligence.
Intelligence sources said they were keeping an open mind on who was responsible for the car bomb.
According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.es, the car is a grey Mercedes and contains gas canisters and a great quantity of nails.
Looks like the terrorists wanted to celebrate the appointment of the new English Cabinet.
Last news are that the bomb could have caused a carnage if it would have exploded…
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 inand .
On the planned attack on West End nightclub in 2004:
Luckily, this time the plot has been foiled.
EURSOC: While the terror level in Britain is ranked as “high”, intelligence sources claim that the attack took them by surprise. Car bombs are usually the provenance of Irish Republican groups, though the spotlight is obviously going to fall on Islamist jihadis.
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 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.
Sent to Open Trackbacks at Dumb Ox.
Police say the second device was found in a Mercedes in a Park Lane car park after it had been towed away from Cockspur Street, near Trafalgar Square.
Both devices were “viable” and “clearly linked”, police said.
At a news conference on Friday evening, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, said the discovery of the second device was “obviously troubling”.
“There was a considerable amount of fuel and gas canisters, as in the first vehicle. There was also a substantial quantity of nails,” he said.
Jonz, a fellow blogger from IBA, has spotted another worrying aspect:
The second device was found in a blue 280E model Mercedes. It was given a parking ticket at 0230 BST on Friday after being found illegally parked in Cockspur Street.
The vehicle was then towed to the Park Lane car pound about an hour later.
Looks like there are links to Al-Qaeda in London car:
According to Sky News, who cites police sources, the device was going to be detonated with a mobile phone. The Chief of the Anti-terrorist Chief Brigade from Scotland Yard, Peter Clarke, said that if it had exploded it would have caused a lot of dead and wounded.
[…] Regarding the authors, both policial sources and the Government point to Al Qaeda or people inspired by its ideology.
“You only have to read about the last cases in which the culprits have been imprisoned to see that they were planning to explode night clubs and to put bombs with gas in cars“, said one of the sources.
Middle East Times
Bomb in London’s Indian hotspot
Calcutta Telegraph – 23 minutes ago
London, June 29: London had a very lucky escape today when a car bomb, which could have killed and maimed hundreds around Piccadilly Circus – a favourite haunt of Indians – was defused in the nick of time.
‘Al-Qaeda memo to Gordon Brown’ NEWS.com.au
Professor Anthony Glees of Brunel University, an intelligence expert at Brunel University, said the apparent simultaneous bombing attempt pointed to Al-Qaeda.
“There even more evidence now that this is an al-Qaeda plot. It’s an al-Qaeda memo to Gordon Brown,” he said, referring to the new prime minister who succeeded Tony Blair on Wednesday.
“It’s an al-Qaeda memo to the British public, that they are determined to carry on…their attack on ordinary British people,” he said.
Speaking before the second device was found, Mr Brown said the alert was a fresh warning of the threat faced by London, which next week marks the second anniversary of the July 7 2005 suicide attacks which killed 52 people and the four bombers.
Rajeshree Patel, who was in the Tiger Tiger club when it was evacuated, told BBC television: “I think there would have been a lot of fatalities. There were approximately 500 people inside Tiger Tiger at the time.”
The would-be car bomber who left his vehicle outside a London nightclub in the early hours of Friday morning would have provided huge volumes of photographic and video evidence as to his identity.
“Central London is one of the most intensively watched areas in the world,” said Beverli Rhodes, head of security for Capita Symonds, an infrastructure consultancy that manages the capital’s so-called ring of steel.
The ring of steel monitors 52 entrances to central London, taking photographs of vehicle number plates, the vehicles themselves as well as separate images of drivers. The locations of the monitoring points are not publicly disclosed.
Apart from this, the centre is covered by intensive closed circuit television coverage which police said on Friday they were gathering as evidence. Given the bomb was defused, police said there would be a large amount of forensic and other evidence from the vehicle.
Ms Rhodes said there had been indications on some jihadi websites that terrorists would try to mount attacks to mark the coming to power of Gordon Brown. One had called, she said, for an activation of al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the UK, which potentially could mean further attacks.
Lamine Adam, 26, his brother Ibrahim, 20 and Cerie Bullivant, 24If so report them immediately to the British Counter Terrorism Hotline at 0800 789 321.
These are three of the seven terrorist suspects who are fugitives in Britain after walking away from so called control orders. If anyone has images of the other four suspects, please email them to us and we’ll post them here.
Also in Hot Air, Blue Star Chronicles, Flopping Aces, Rhymes with Right, FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog, Little Green Footballs, In the Bullpen, Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Mary Katherine Ham, Darlene’s Place, My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Something and Half of Something.
Also more in Foehammer’s Anvil. Points out the obvious (something D.Ox also pointed out in comments this morning): they were averted by sheer luck.
Sugiero has another interesting (and worrying) link: Security forces fear Baghdad-style tactics in London:
On the streets of Baghdad the use of car bombs is a daily tactic which reaps horrific results. Senior officers have been waiting and dreading for those tactics to be employed in the UK by homegrown Islamist extremists.
Recently Scotland Yard admitted that they were carrying out anti-terrorist spot checks on lorries entering the capital.
Here’s more on how the first device was defused by the bomb squad in London; it had to be done by a bomb squad officer because the robot could not see through the thick haze in the vehicle.
Donning an approximately 90-pound Kevlar suit , one technician took “the long walk” from his armored response van to the Mercedes E 300 sedan and found a carefully constructed, large vehicle bomb with a complicated fuse. The bomb technician defused the device by hand, officials in London said.
ABC News has learned the bomb was composed of tanks of propane, butane and 125 liters of gasoline (33 U.S. gallons), roofing nails and a fuse that initial reports indicated was constructed of simple light bulb or flashbulb filaments and designed to be triggered by a mobile telephone.