UK Terror Attacks Linked To Al-Qaida

July 1, 2007

Police searched several houses near Glasgow's airport and made a fifth arrest Sunday in connection with a fiery attack on its main terminal and foiled car bombings in London, which the prime minister suggested were carried out by terrorists linked to al-Qaida.

The terrorist threat that Britain faces is "long-term and sustained," Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a nationally televised interview. It is clear, he said, "that we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaida."

"We won't, as the British people, be intimidated or let anyone stop us getting on with our lives," said Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

On Saturday, two men rammed a flaming Jeep into the main entrance of Glasgow airport, shattering the glass doors and igniting a fire just yards from people lined up at check-in counters.

John Smeaton, who saw the attack, said the man shouted "Allah, Allah" as he was detained.

"Al-Qaida has imported the tactics of Baghdad and Bali to the streets of the UK," said Lord Stevens, Brown's terrorism adviser.

The two men from the Glasgow attack were in police custody Sunday, one of them under guard in the hospital with severe burns. Early reports that one of the suspects died at the hospital were erroneous.

Early Sunday, police arrested two people, a 26-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman, on a major highway in Cheshire, northern England, in a joint swoop by officers from London and Birmingham, Scotland Yard said in London. A fifth suspect was arrested in Liverpool, police there said.

Police said officers were searching a residential area about a mile from the airport. In Houston, a small town just outside Glasgow, police cordoned off the area around a two-story house to search it.

The two attacks clearly are linked, police and security officials said, noting that all three vehicles contained flammable materials, including gasoline and gas cylinders.

Britain on Saturday raised its terror alert to "critical", the highest possible level, and the Bush administration announced plans to increase security at airports and on mass transit.

The new terror threat presents Brown with an enormous challenge early in his premiership, and comes at a time of already heightened vigilance one week before the anniversary of the July 7, 2005, London transit attacks.

Kenny MacAskill, Scotland's justice secretary, said the two Glasgow attackers were not "born and bred here."

Glasgow Airport began reopening Sunday, although the airport operator warned many flights would be canceled. The crashed Jeep remained out front, covered in a blue tarpaulin, and cars were not allowed to drive up to the terminal.

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