Britain steps up hunt for terror suspects

Monday, July 2, 2007
A family sat and waited with their baggage Sunday while stranded at Glasgow International Airport, where a Jeep Cherokee rammed the front door of the terminal and burst into flames in a terror attack Saturday that police linked to a foiled car bomb plot in London the day before. (Scott Heppell ~ Associated Press)

GLASGOW, Scotland -- British officials intensified the hunt Sunday for what they called an al-Qaida-linked network behind three attempted terrorist attacks, announcing a fifth arrest and conducting pinpoint raids across a country on its highest level of alert.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, "It is clear that we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaida." He warned Britons that the threat would be "long-term and sustained" but said the country would not cowed by the plot targeting central London and Glasgow's airport.

"We will not yield, we will not be intimidated, and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life," he said in a nationally televised interview.

A British government security official said a loose U.K.-wide network appeared to be behind the attacks but investigators were struggling to pin down suspects' identities -- even two arrested after they drove a Jeep Cherokee into Glasgow's main airport terminal Saturday and set it ablaze.

"These are not the type of people who always carry identity documents or who use their real identities," the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the inquiries. "Very little has been gleaned so far from the biological data."

Forensic officers remove the evidence bags from the scene at Glasgow International Airport Sunday, July 1, 2007 where a Jeep Cherokee rammed and burst into flames in a terror attack that police linked to a foiled car bomb plot in central London the previous day. Two people were arrested - one of them on fire - and a bystander was injured. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

He said police and MI5, the internal security agency, did not know if the suspects were British born, from overseas, or some combination of the two.

Two men rammed the Jeep into the airport entrance, shattering the glass doors and igniting a raging fire. One of the suspects, his body in flames after the attack, was taken to the nearby Royal Alexandra Hospital, where police Sunday carried out a controlled explosion on a vehicle they said also could be linked to the plot.

On Friday, authorities thwarted coordinated bomb attacks in central London after an ambulance crew outside a nightclub spotted smoke coming from a Mercedes that turned out to be rigged with gasoline, gas canisters and nails. A second Mercedes filled with explosives was found hours later in an impound lot, where it was towed for parking illegally.

"We are learning a great deal about the people involved in the attacks here in Glasgow and in the attempted attacks in central London. The links between them are becoming ever clearer," Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's counterterrorist unit, said in Scotland.

Heathrow Airport's terminal 3 was briefly closed Sunday night after a suspect package was found, but reopened once police confirmed the item was safe, authorities said.

Late Saturday, police arrested two people -- a 26-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman -- on a highway in Cheshire, northern England, London's Scotland Yard said. On Sunday, Staffordshire police said they also searched at least one home in nearby Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

And in Liverpool late Saturday, police arrested a 26-year-old man.

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