LIANE HANSEN, host:
From NPR News, this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen.
Four people are now in custody in Britain this morning, and the fifth is in critical condition in the hospital after driving a flaming jeep into the entrance of Glasgow International Airport in Scotland yesterday. Today, police conducted a controlled explosion of another suspicious vehicle parked in the hospital carport. No explosives were found but authorities believe the car was linked to the earlier attacks.
Houses are being searched just outside Glasgow and the terror alert in Britain is now at critical, the highest possible level.
NPR's Rob Gifford reports.
ROB GIFFORD: Now, al-Qaida has imported the tactics of Baghdad to the streets of the UK, writes former head of London police Lord Stevens in a newspaper column this morning. The idea of suicide car bombs coming to British shores should perhaps not be such a surprise, but there were still shock yesterday when two men drove a flaming jeep into the main entrance of Glasgow Airport.
Baggage handler John Smitten(ph) was standing nearby as the jeep slammed into the building and two men jumped out, one of them with his clothes on fire.
Mr. JOHN SMITTEN (Baggage Handler, Glasgow International Airport, Scotland): (Unintelligible) was a guy lying on the ground, covered from head to toe in flame. He was shouting Allah. He was shouting Allah. He was throwing punches. Allah. Allah.
GIFFORD: Police and bystanders restrained both men and the badly burnt man is now in a critical condition in a Glasgow hospital. The incident occurred just a day after police found two cars in central London packed with gasoline, propane gas and large quantities of nails.
Head of London's anti-terrorism police unit Peter Clarke went immediately to Glasgow. Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police in Glasgow Willie Rae spoke to the media last night.
Sir WILLIE RAE (Chief Constable, Strathclyde Police, Glasgow, Scotland): I can confirm that we believe the incident at Glasgow Airport is linked to the events in London yesterday. There are clearly similarities and we can confirm that this is being treated as a terrorist incident.
GIFFORD: All of these came just days into the premiership of Gordon Brown, a Scotsman himself who've taken over his prime minister when Tony Blair stepped down last Wednesday.
Brown had been a leading member of Blair's cabinet for a decade but as chief of the treasury and not dealing directly with security issues. Facing a huge test of his leadership, he said this morning that the British people would not be intimidated by terrorist.
Prime Minister GORDON BROWN (UK): It's obvious that we have a group of people - not just in this country, but around the world - who are prepared to - at any time - to inflict what they want to be maximum damage on civilians, irrespective of who the religion of these people who are killed or maimed are to be. And so, we will have to be constantly vigilant. I think the message that's got to come out from Britain and from the British people is that as one we will not yield, we will not be intimidated, and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life.
GIFFORD: Brown said it was clear that Britain is dealing in general terms with people who are linked to al-Qaida though he did not specifically say the events of the last two days were an al-Qaida plot. He raised the threat level in Britain to critical, meaning that another attack is considered imminent.
The fact that the two men who bailed out of the flaming car in Glasgow were of South-Asian decent is bound to further concern Britain's two million strong Muslim community. Labour member of Parliament for Glasgow central Mohammed Sarwar says a meeting has been convened for all Scotland's Imams and Muslim leaders.
Mr. MOHAMMED SARWAR (Labour Party, Parliament Member, Glasgow Central): I have spoken to a number of people from the Muslim community and from the Asian community who feel very angry and they're concern about the backlash and that's why the emergency meeting has been called in which all the Imams from Scotland and leaders of the Muslim community are attending this meeting.
GIFFORD: Several experts have said the technology of the London car bombs seemed very amateurish and the attack with the jeep in Glasgow, mercifully, did not inflict serious injury on any innocent bystanders. But officials do admit that the attack signal a very worrying new approach and the new abbreviation is being heard here in Britain that was previously only heard in Iraq - the V-B-I-E-D, the vehicle born improvised explosive device.
Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.
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