Sunday, May 2, 2010

Official: Times Square incident similar to Glasgow bombing

As authorities conduct their investigation into a car bomb found in Times Square, a federal law enforcement official said the incident was most similar to the events leading up to the 2007 bombing at the airport in Glasgow.

In June 2007, authorities discovered two explosives-filled Mercedes sedans in central London.

One of the cars was parked outside a packed nightclub near Piccadilly Circus and the other was parked just off Trafalgar Square. Like Times Square, both locations are major tourist spots in London.

An ambulance crew notified police about the first car after they saw smoke coming from it. The second car was towed for a parking offense but drew suspicion because it smelled of gasoline.

Officials later said both cars cars were filled with fuel, gas canisters and nails. Police managed to defuse them.

The following day, with attention still focused on the averted attacks in the capital, a Jeep sped through the barriers outside Glasgow International Airport and slammed head-on into the terminal.

The Jeep, filled with propane gas, burst into flames and created a fireball. The driver and passenger jumped out of the car.

The driver, Kafeel Ahmed, set himself on fire and later died in the hospital; the passenger was identified as Bilal Abdulla, an Iraqi doctor who had been practicing medicine in Scotland.

Later that day, police arrested Mohammed Asha as he was driving with his wife on a highway in Cheshire, England. Police said Asha, a doctor of Palestinian descent who grew up in Jordan, conspired with Abdulla to carry out the explosions, but the jury did not agree.

Based on other evidence collected in the investigation, police believe the London bombs were to have been the first in a series of similar attacks. They said it was only luck that prevented the London bombs from going off.

In December 2008, a London jury found Abdulla guilty of conspiracy to murder and conspiring to cause explosions. In a split verdict, the jury acquitted Asha.


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