NPR logo

Vehicle Rams Glasgow Airport, Britain on High Alert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11630577/11630578" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Vehicle Rams Glasgow Airport, Britain on High Alert

World

Vehicle Rams Glasgow Airport, Britain on High Alert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11630577/11630578" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Debbie Elliott.

Britain has raised its security alert to the highest level - critical -indicating terror attacks could be imminent. The security alert follows a series of what authorities are calling terrorist incidents. Today, at the airport in Glasgow, Scotland, two men rammed a jeep into the main terminal building, where it burst into flames. No bystanders were hurt. Yesterday, police defused explosives packed into two cars in London. The new prime minister, Gordon Brown, addressed the nation today.

Prime Minister GORDON BROWN (United Kingdom): The first duty of our government is the security and safety of all the British people. So it is right to raise the levels of security at airports and in crowded places in the light of the heightened threat. I want all British people to be vigilant and I want them to support the police and all the authorities in the difficult decisions that they have to make. I know that the British people will stand together united, resolute and strong.

ELLIOTT: Here in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security is stepping up security at airports, on mass transit and other transportation facilities. But Secretary Michael Chertoff says the U.S. has no plans to elevate the threat level here. He says there is no credible information suggesting the incidents in Britain pose any threat to the United States.

NPR's Rob Gifford is on the line to give us an update on the news from Britain.

Rob, can you tell us about what happened today in Glasgow?

ROB GIFFORD: Yes, Debbie. At about 3:15, local time - that's about 10:15 Eastern time - two men in an SUV, a Jeep Cherokee, drove it at some speed into the glass doors at the front of the main terminal of Glasgow International Airport in Scotland. And eyewitnesses, of whom there were many in area, reported that the two men piled out of the car - one of them was on fire and his clothes were on fire. Both men were tackled by bystanders and security staff who were there and were detained and taken away. And obviously, this was a shocking situation. We've seen the pictures - this great ball of fire going up from this car as - and the smell of petrol all around as the car simply went up in smoke.

ELLIOTT: The head of the Glasgow police there has just been talking to reporters. What did he have to say?

GIFFORD: He has, yes. He told us a little bit more information about what exactly happened. He said that one of the men - the man whose clothes were on fire - is in a critical situation in a - critical condition in a Glasgow hospital. The other man is in custody.

He said, very interestingly, he said another device was found on the man who is in the hospital. And a reporter asked him, do you mean - was it a suicide belt? And he wouldn't comment on that specifically. He also said that Peter Clarke, the head of the British anti-terrorism squad in London, is on his way to Glasgow, thus linking, in some way, the bombs that were found yesterday in London with this incident today.

ELLIOTT: Did he give any information as to why authorities believe the two incidents are linked?

GIFFORD: He didn't give specifics. And of course, there has been speculation. There's one unconfirmed report that the two cars that were found yesterday actually came from Scotland. But he did not give any further details of that except to say that they - he believes that they are linked. And obviously, we're looking at what happened and we're looking at the proximity in time. And I think many people are drawing the same conclusion.

ELLIOTT: NPR's Rob Gifford in London. Thanks so much.

GIFFORD: Thanks very much, Debbie.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.