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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:07, July 02, 2007
Britain braces for new round of terror attacks
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After the police defused two car bombs in London on Friday and a blazing jeep crashed into the Glasgow Airport in north Britain, the whole country is now faced with the bloody reality of yet another round of terrorist attacks.

On Friday, police in London found two Mercedes packed with petrol, gas canisters and nails, a short distance away from one another in a centrally located shopping area, and defused the explosive devices which might otherwise have caused mayhem and led to the loss of a great many innocent lives.

On Saturday afternoon, a blazing Cherokee Jeep at high speed crashed into the front of the main terminal building at Glasgow Airport in north Britain. Two people were arrested on the spot while the airport was evacuated and closed shortly afterwards.

Following the incident, vehicle access was closed at New Castle and Edinburgh airports after a heightened state of alert was declared, while armed police closed off Blackpool airport on the west coast of Britain.

Police later announced that the two incidents in London and Glasgow were related terrorist acts. And the Home Office declared the country's national security alert level to be raised to "critical," or the highest, signaling more attacks.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown chaired two meetings of the emergency committee code named "Cobra." He reassured Britons that it is right to raise the security level at airports and crowded places, and ensuring safety of the people is the government's first duty.

"The British people must remain united, resolute and strong," he said after a meeting with the Home Secretary and security officers on Saturday.

Following the incidents, more police are patrolling London streets and security measures have been boosted at both houses of Parliament. Chiefs of MI5, the domestic security services, have cancelled all staff leave, suspended other investigations and have also dedicated extra resources to find the terrorist perpetrators.

Meanwhile, as the Sunday Telegraph reported, MI5 is monitoring 30 suspected plots involving more than 1,700 terrorist suspects. Detectives are also combing the cars used to carry out the failed London bombings for evidence, which might lead to the capture of the culprits.

However, as security sources have revealed, there had been no prior intelligence warnings related to the car bombs. Nonetheless, experts believe the car bombs used in London are of the same kind that are used in Iraq on a daily basis. The only difference is the amateurish nature of the bombs and the absence of suicide bombers sacrificing lives for their cause.

But the incidents are widely regarded as the first vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices used in an attack in Britain since the Irish Republican Army abandoned its terror campaigns. And the security services are looking at possible international links.

Analysts here believe the incidents are sending out a message, that the "war on terror" is far bigger than politics. "This is about a battle between good and evil," said Jason Burke from the Observer newspaper.

As new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said on Friday afternoon, Britain is "currently facing the most serious and sustained threat" and authorities are doing everything they can to protect the public.

This weekend, London is the venue for the Gay Pride Parade, the Diana concert commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of the late princess, as well as the Wimbledon tennis championships. The authorities have deployed 350 policemen for the parade in central London and Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, has called on Londoners to be "vigilant" but said that there was no need to stay at home.

The bomb scares remind London residents of the terrorist attacks on the city's public transport system in 2005, when 52 innocent people were killed and more than 700 injured. Only this time, they are faced with the naked fact that car bombs formerly associated with war-torn Iraq is now being used here in London and could possibly stay for some time to come.

Source: Xinhua

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