Police in London say they have deactivated a bomb packed with nails and capable of creating huge casualties, raising renewed fears of a terrorist strike almost two years after the city was hit by deadly suicide bombers.
The device, consisting of 200 liters of fuel, gas cylinders and nails linked to a triggering mechanism, was found in a car in Haymarket, in the city’s busy nightclub and theater district shortly before 2 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Friday.
British police anti-terror chief Peter Clarke said the explosives would have resulted in significant injury and loss of life had they detonated.
Details are still a little sketchy, but apparently an ambulance crew alerted police after they noticed a smoke-filled car parked close to the popular nightclub. Explosives officers discovered the fuel and nails attached to a “potential means of detonation,” inside the vehicle. Officers “courageously” disabled the trigger by hand, Clarke he said.
Several news outlets are noting the proximity to the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks, but I’m also curious about the possible attack coinciding with the announcement of a new British Prime Minister. The ’93 attack in NYC happened shortly after Clinton took office; 9/11 occurred shortly after Bush took office; might today after something to do with Brown?
Regardless, I think Atrios raises a valid point about the temptations towards hysteria: “Watching the CNN coverage of the thwarted car bombing in London I’m struck by how the coverage makes something that didn’t happen thousands of miles away sound like something around the block. You know, foiled bomb plot in London! Terrorists crawling up through your toilet!”
Good point. As for Londoners, the chances of something like this sending London into a panic are about zero. In 2005, Slate’s David Plotz happened to be in London on 7/7 and noted, within a couple of hours of the attacks, “When I walked by the Queen’s Larder Pub, not half a mile from the Tavistock Square wreckage, at 11 a.m., a half-dozen men were sitting together at a sidewalk table, hoisting their morning pints of ale. Civilization must go on, after all.”
Hearty bunch, those Brits.