Nature of London and Glasgow Plot Links Probed

Several arrests made -- including at least one doctor.


July 1, 2007 — -- Authorities in Scotland and London were checking e-mails, computer drives, phone records, security camera footage and other forensic evidence in an effort to establish exact concrete links between the attack at Glasgow airport Saturday and the thwarted attacks in London as nightclubs prepared to shut down early Friday morning.

As they did, a massive security clampdown was on at major airports in Europe and the United States, even as U.S. travelers geared up for an Independence Day holiday that whatever the weather is certain to be under a cloud of fear in the wake of the London and Scotland attacks.

By late Sunday, authorities had made arrests in Scotland and in England of at least five people allegedly connected to the plot.

"We are working very hard to avoid it, but one can never be sure it won't happen again," said Peter Clarke, the United Kingdom's head of counter-terrorism.

A man and a woman were captured on the highway in central England as the harrowing maneuver was captured on a driver's cell phone.

Another man was arrested in Liverpool. Along with the two alleged Glasgow bombers, five people are now in police custody.

The BBC reported one of the suspects was Mohammed Asha, an Iranian doctor who moved to the United Kingdom several years ago. Asha reportedly was being held at the Paddington Green police station in London.

An early profile of the attackers is developing. Investigators now believe they are foreigners of Middle Eastern or Pakistani descent. They say the bombers were likely motivated by al Qaeda, but still have not established an operational link.

"Because it failed, it's unlikely that al Qaeda will want to claim responsibility for something that has been botched," said Sajjan Gohel, a security analyst. "But what we do know that all the major plots since March 2004 have a connection to al Qaeda hierarchy in Pakistan."

As of Sunday evening, British police had searched numerous residences in the hunt for evidence, terror cell members and any bomb making materials that may have been used in either region's incendiary car bombing attempted the two vehicles in London's thwarted incendiary attacks.

Both vehicles in the thwarted London attacks contained cylinders of propane gas, containers of gasoline, nails and in at least one case was rigged to sophisticated detonators.

The Jeep that attempted to crash and turn into a fireball inside a Glasgow airport was said to contain both propane cylinders and gasoline. However it did not appear to have a remote detonator or any nails, police, officials and ABC sources said.

Based on forensic evidence, the occupants of the Jeep may have intended to martyr themselves. However, reports that one of the men was wearing a "suicide belt," if taken to mean an explosives belt, are inaccurate. The person was not wearing any explosive belt or vest.

According to security sources, the occupants of the car set it on fire after hitting a security barrier at the entrance to the Glasgow terminal.

These sources said the reason that one man received burns to 95 percent of his body was that he was pouring gasoline on and under the Jeep, and when he ignited it, the flames spread up to the remaining gasoline he carried.

British authorities have said they are monitoring more than 30 active terror plots, 200 known cells and 2,000 terrorists.

How they missed this plot is still unclear, but they're now working with two advantages -- the captured cars that are proving a goldmine of evidence, say police, and several of the plotters themselves.

Today, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown prepared his country for an ongoing danger.

"We're dealing with a long term threat," he said. "It's not going to go away in the next few weeks or months."

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