The highest security alert level – “critical” - was clamped on Britain over the weekend, indicating that new terrorist attacks are imminent. Prime Minister Gordon Brown blamed three car bomb attacks on people “associated with al-Qaeda.”
The island nation was placed on the highest level of terrorist alert after a burning car smashed into Glasgow Airport in Scotland yesterday, disrupting air travel across the country. On Friday two car bombs were found in London’s crowded West End, near Piccadilly Circus. Two Mercedes with 60 liters of gas, gas cylinders and nails were detected - before their devices detonated.
A total of five people have been arrested in connection with both attacks. Details were not available. Gordon Brown, as Britain’s new prime minister, said “it’s obvious that we have a group of people… who’re prepared at any time to inflict what they want to be maximum damage on civilians.” He added that “we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaeda.”
Metropolitan Police in London stepped up security procedures at the ongoing Wimbledon tennis matches, as well as a memorial concert on Sunday for the late Princess Diana, who died 10 years ago. A statement issued by police said that concert goers could expect an increase in stop and search measures.
The London bombings on Friday occurred on Gordon Brown’s first full day as prime minister, succeeding Tony Blair. The timing could not have been coincidental. Brown’s new terrorism advisor Lord Stevens said the attacks signaled a major escalation “in the war being waged on us by Islamic terrorists." He went on to say: “It is clear a close but deadly network of interlinked operational cells has developed.”
Britain has a new system of five security levels. “Critical” is the highest, meaning that an imminent attack is expected. The home affairs correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said that the decision to go to “critical” reflects concern that there’s the capability and intent to carry out further bombings.