2007 Glasgow International Airport attack

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2007 Glasgow International Airport attack
The Aftermath - geograph.org.uk - 485211.jpg
The scene 40 hours after the failed terrorist attack on the main terminal at Glasgow Airport. The airport was back to business as usual by this time.
Date 30 June 2007
3:11 pm – 5:15 pm (BST)
Target Glasgow International Airport, Scotland
Attack type
Suicide attack
terrorism
Deaths 1 (suicide bomber)
Non-fatal injuries
5[1][2]
Perpetrators
Bilal Abdullah and
Kafeel Ahmed
Motive Extremist Islamic beliefs

The 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack was a terrorist ramming attack which occurred on Saturday 30 June 2007, at 15:11 BST, when a dark green Jeep Cherokee loaded with propane canisters was driven into the glass doors of the Glasgow International Airport terminal and set ablaze.[3] It was the first terrorist attack to take place in Scotland since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.[4] The attack occurred three days after the appointment of Glasgow-born Scottish MP Gordon Brown as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but Downing Street dismissed suggestions of a connection,[5] although a close link was quickly established to the foiled attack on London the previous day.

Security bollards outside the entrance stopped the car from entering the terminal, although the doors were damaged. The car's driver was severely burnt in the ensuing fire and five members of the public were also injured, although none were seriously harmed. Some injuries were sustained by those assisting the police in detaining the occupants.

Both of the car occupants were apprehended at the scene, and all those injured were taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in nearby Paisley.[1][2][6][7] Within three days, Scotland Yard had confirmed that eight people had been taken into custody in connection with this incident and that in London.[1][8][9]

Police identified the two men as Bilal Abdullah, a British-born, Muslim engineer of Iraqi descent working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital,[10][11] and Kafeel Ahmed, also known as Khalid Ahmed, the driver, who was treated for severe burns at the same hospital.[12] The newspaper, The Australian, alleges that a suicide note indicated that the two had intended to die in the attack.[13] Kafeel Ahmed died from his injuries on 2 August.[14] Bilal Abdullah was later found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Events[edit]

A Jeep Cherokee, similar to the one used in the attacks

A dark green Jeep Cherokee (XJ), registration number L808 RDT,[15] travelling at a speed estimated by a witness as about 30 mph[16] (48 km/h), struck security bollards in a terror ramming attack at the main entrance to Glasgow International Airport.[2] The vehicle was reported to have several petrol containers and propane gas canisters on board. One eyewitness said flames issued from beneath the car when it hit the building, while another eyewitness said it appeared the driver was trying to drive through the terminal doors. According to reports, the car was occupied by two "Asian-looking" men.[17] Police indicated the vehicle burst into flames when it was driven at the terminal.[18] An eyewitness noted that a man got out of the car and began to fight with police.[19] Another eyewitness said that the man was throwing punches and repeatedly shouting "Allah".[20][21][22] The man was arrested and later identified as Bilal Abdulla, a UK-born doctor of Iraqi descent who was working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Another man exited the car and ran into the terminal building while he was on fire, eyewitness Stephen Clarkson said it was lucky he managed to knock the man down with his forearm, police then restrained the man.[23] Sky News reported that petrol was spread from containers by the occupants when they got out of the car.[citation needed] During the subsequent investigation propane gas canisters were removed from the car. A Strathclyde Police spokesman confirmed the two men in the car were arrested,[24] one of them badly burned. The man was initially taken to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley before being transferred to the intensive care unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary due to it having a specialist burns unit, where he died on 2 August.[25] The Jeep was removed early on the morning of Sunday 1 July before flights resumed and the airport was partially opened.[7]

John Smeaton was subsequently awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for his heroism.[citation needed]

Hospitals[edit]

Royal Alexandra Hospital's accident and emergency department was evacuated and then closed when a suspected explosive device on the bomber's body was found.[18] Affected patients were taken to the Southern General Hospital and the Western Infirmary. It later emerged the device was not explosive.[26] The second man, Dr Bilal Abdulla, was initially held at nearby Govan police station, one of the UK's high security police stations with the capability to hold terrorist suspects.[27] He was later transferred to Paddington Green Police Station in London, along with two unnamed suspects, after the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini gave her consent to a combined prosecution in England under English law.[28]

In the aftermath of the attack the airport was evacuated and all flights suspended. Evacuated holiday-goers, including some who were left in aircraft for up to ten hours after the event, were accommodated overnight in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.[29][30] BAA indicated the airport main terminal re-opened for an incoming flight from Ibiza on 1 July 2007 at 07:37, and began handling departures from approximately 09:00.[31]

Number plate[edit]

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology identified the vehicle of two suspects connected with the Glasgow Airport attack on the M6 Motorway between junction 18 & 17 near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. The police brought the suspects to a slow halt and they were arrested.[1] The BBC stated that the medical doctor arrested was Dr. Mohammed Asha.[32]

London car bombs[edit]

Further information: 2007 London car bombs
The Mercedes-Benz on Haymarket covered by a tent the day before the attacks at Glasgow

The police said they believed the attack was linked to the two bombs discovered and defused in London 36 hours before.[1][20][26][33] The vehicle was reported to have contained 60 litres of petrol, gas cylinders, and nails.[34] Scotland Yard reported that while the gas contained in the canisters and the quantity of the canisters remains unknown, further details would be given after they have been analysed by forensic experts. The head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command said, "It is obvious that if the device had detonated there could have been serious injury or loss of life."[35] The device could not have detonated, because it lacked an oxidiser, according to a columnist for The Register (UK).[36][37] This information may have originated from an interview of former CIA counter-terrorism officer Larry Johnson, conducted by Keith Olbermann of MSNBC on 29 June.

According to Sky News, the gas cylinders contained propane, used for patio heaters.[38] A second bomb was later found in a blue Mercedes-Benz 280E[39] believed to have been left in the same area at around the same time. The illegally-parked car received a parking ticket in Cockspur Street at 02:30. At about 03:30 the car was transported to the Park Lane car pound. Staff left the car in a public area after smelling petrol fumes and alerted police on hearing about the first bomb.[40][41]

US officials told NBC News that three men had been identified and were believed to be from Birmingham. The network reported that one of the three men could be an associate of Dhiren Barot, an Indian convert to Islam who was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 for plotting to fill limousines with explosives similar to those found in these incidents and park them in garages beneath hotels and office complexes. Bharot also planned to attack five financial landmarks in the United States: the New York Stock Exchange and the Citigroup Center in New York City; the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, both in Washington, D.C.; and the Prudential Building in Newark, New Jersey. Scotland Yard denied claims from a report by ABC News that police had a "crystal clear" picture of one suspect from CCTV footage.[42]

A 27-year-old doctor from India, Mohammed Haneef was arrested at Brisbane Airport in Australia on 2 July in connection with the bombings in the UK. He was arrested while trying to board a flight with a one-way ticket to Bangalore, India, apparently to visit his newly born daughter. The arrest followed information received from the UK.[43] As the case against him collapsed, Dr. Haneef was released with all charges dropped.[44]

Reporting[edit]

1 July[edit]

The aftermath of the bombing, 40 hours after

On the afternoon of 1 July, police carried out a controlled explosion on a car in the car park of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, where one suspect was being treated. The hospital was cordoned off for a time, and ambulances were redirected to other local hospitals. It is not clear if there was another device attached to the second car.[45] Glasgow International Airport began to reopen, with flights from Orlando and Ibiza arriving during the day. By the end of the day, the airport was reported to be operating largely as usual, but passengers continued to be advised to confirm their flights with operators before coming to the airport. Tight security precautions remained in force across UK airports, although most flights operated as normal.[citation needed]

Five arrests were made: two in Glasgow, Scotland, two on the M6 motorway in Cheshire, and one in Liverpool (England).[citation needed] The police searched homes and made inquiries around the country, including in Renfrewshire, Merseyside and Staffordshire, with one suspect identified to "still be at large".[citation needed]

Sky News reported that two of the arrested men were doctors, working in British hospitals.[citation needed]

During a press conference Strathclyde police revealed that they believe the two men had been living in Renfrew for at least six weeks prior to the attacks. Questions were raised during the conference concerning whether the USA had, as had been reported in certain circles,[where?] published a report predicting that there may be an attack on Glasgow Airport. This was not confirmed and considered as speculation.[citation needed]

2 July[edit]

Police made two further arrests in Paisley in the early hours of 2 July in connection with the attack, bringing the total number of arrests to seven.[46] At least two suspects are thought to be locum physicians reportedly working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and at a Staffordshire hospital. These hospitals were the subject of police searches.[47]

On 2 July 2007, an eighth person was detained in Australia in connection with both the Glasgow and London incidents.[48] Australian news reports indicated that two people in Queensland were detained for questioning. Both were doctors; one, Mohammed Asif Ali, was released after questioning with no charges being brought.[49] The other, Mohamed Haneef, 27, graduated from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in India in 2002 and entered Australia due to the shortage of doctors in regional hospitals.[50] He was working as a registrar at a Gold Coast hospital and was detained at Brisbane Airport while trying to board a one-way flight to India via Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.[49][51][52] His family claimed that Haneef's link to the alleged attackers was tenuous, he was not involved in the plot, and that he was returning to India to see his wife and ten-day-old daughter.[53] India's Deputy High Commissioner to Australia Vinod Kumar was quoted as saying that Haneef had been granted consular access in Australia. On 27 July 2007, all charges against Dr Haneef were dropped by Magistrate Wendy Cull in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Prosecutor A.J. McSporran said that there would be "no reasonable prospect of a conviction of Dr Haneef being secured." He told the court that prosecutors had made two mistakes at a bail hearing on 14 July.

Police arrested three more men in connection with the failed terror attacks of the past few days on London and Glasgow, taking the total number of arrests to eight.

Sky News revealed the identity of one of the practising doctors arrested the next day as Dr Mohammed Asha, who trained in Jordan before coming to the UK to practise. Police are continuing[when?] house raids throughout the country, in Paisley, Merseyside and Staffordshire. One suspect, badly burned after the attack on Glasgow airport, was receiving treatment at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. The eighth suspect was arrested abroad on 2 July 2007, but police refused to reveal details of the country in which the arrest took place. It was revealed that five of those arrested are qualified doctors, practising in the UK, three of those in the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The UK's terror threat warning level remains[when?] "critical", meaning that an attack could be imminent. Heavy security is in evidence at airports and public transport centres, with many airports asking passengers not to bring vehicles close to the terminal buildings. This evening[when?], at around 1900 BST, Stansted Airport, Essex. was closed for a short time following the discovery of a suspicious bag. The owner of the bag was arrested while the airport closed its doors, not allowing passengers into or out of it. The BBC reports that, by 2035, the airport had been fully re-opened. The owner of the bag remains under arrest, but not for terrorism related offences. Strathclyde Police made appeal for any details of earlier movements of the green Jeep Cherokee with registration L808 RDT, which was driven into the terminal building at Glasgow International Airport.

One allegation was that Dr Haneef's SIM card had been found in the burning jeep at Glasgow Airport when, in fact, it had been found in the possession of the brother of a suspect arrested in Liverpool. The second error was that Dr Haneef had once lived with some of the UK bombing suspects, when in fact he had not. The Australian Labor Party called for an external review of the handling of the Dr Haneef case by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Arrests[edit]

  1. Dr. Bilal Abdullah, 27, born in England, and moved to Iraq as a child.[54] Alleged attacker, arrested immediately at Glasgow International Airport. Convicted at of conspiracy to murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment
  2. Kafeel Ahmed, aka Khalid Ahmed,[55] born in India, studying for a PhD in engineering. Taken to hospital after the attack and treated for burns over 90% of his body surface.[56] Died from his injuries, 2 August 2007.[14]
  3. Dr. Mohammed Asha, 26, from Jordan.[54] Arrested on the M6 motorway.[56] Later found not guilty of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions, currently fighting deportation.[57]
  4. Marwah Dana Asha, 27, from Jordan. Wife of Mohammed Asha and arrested with him on the M6 motorway.[56] Was later released without charge.[58]
  5. Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, 26, born in India. Arrested in Liverpool. A doctor who works at Halton Hospital in Cheshire. Brother of Kafeel Ahmed.[56]
  6. Dr. Mohamed Haneef, 27, from India.[57][59] Detained at Brisbane Airport, Australia[56] and later charged with recklessly supporting a terrorist organisation, charges which have now been dropped. Currently appealing cancellation of his work visa by the Australian government. Second cousin of Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed.
  7. Unnamed 28-year-old Saudi man, arrested in Houston, Renfrewshire. Reported to be a medical student working at Royal Alexandra Hospital.[56] Released without charge.[60]
  8. Unnamed 25-year-old Saudi man, arrested in Houston along with unnamed 28-year-old. Also reported to be a medical student at the RAH.[56] Released without charge.[60]

Medical links[edit]

The BBC reported that eight people were being questioned, most of whom had worked for the NHS and five of whom were doctors.[61]

Belligerents[edit]

Kafeel Ahmed[edit]

He was often mistakenly referred to as a medical doctor.[62] He was arrested in Great Britain in the aftermath of the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack. He was held hospitalised at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in a critical condition, after he suffered severe burns in the attack. He had suffered burns to 90% of his body, and was not expected to survive—he had already been revived twice as of 4 July.[63] A suicide note left behind indicates that the passengers of the vehicle, Ahmed and Bilal Abdullah, intended to die in the attack.[13] Kafeel was the brother of Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, also arrested in the aftermath of the attack.[64]

Mobile phone records have shown that, during his 2005–2007 stay in India, Ahmed had frequent communications with Malta, the United Kingdom, Finland, Saudi Arabia and Oman.[65] In May 2007, prior to departing to Britain from his native Bangalore, he entrusted his mother with a compact disk that he said contained some important information on his "project". The disk has been handed over to police for analysis.[66] The disk contained speeches by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, propaganda against the United States and Britain,[67] some Jihad literature and the plight of the Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya. Ahmed followed campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and frequented Islamist chat rooms on the Internet. Digital material found included graphic depictions of real-life occurrences of torture in Chechnya, hundreds of bomb designs from the Internet, and evidence that he used the Bangalore-based political platform, Discover Islam, for the purposes of recruitment.[68]

According to police sources, Ahmed was an engineer pursuing a PhD in computational fluid dynamics at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, in the UK, on the topic of "Computational Approach to Ink-jet Printing of Tactile Maps." He would have earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from India, and an MPhil degree in aeronautical engineering from Queen's University Belfast.[69] He might have been in the UK as early as September 2003. He is believed to have organised a Chechnya Day Meeting in his native city of Bangalore in February 2006.[70] He was a member of the Tablighi Jamaat missionary sect.[71]

As an aeronautics engineer, Ahmed was able to secure employment, from December 2005, to August 2006, with Infotech, an Indian outsourcing company servicing clients such as Airbus and Boeing, before resigning abruptly.[72] It could be possible that he had access to sensitive design information about various aviation companies.[73]

Kafeel Ahmed and Bilal Abdullah were behind the 2007 London car bombs plot,[74] and investigations are being carried out to unearth a possible involvement with the deadly 2005 Indian Institute of Science shooting, an attack with unknown suspects that are still at large.[75]

Prior to his attacks in London and Glasgow, he had visited numerous Islamist websites, including that of the Jamaat al Dawa, the parent organisation of Islamic terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba.[76] On 2 August 2007, Strathclyde Police reported that Ahmed had died in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.[62] His last rituals were held in the UK.

Bilal Abdullah[edit]

Dr. Bilal Abdullah, along with Kafeel Ahmed, is believed to have been responsible for leaving car bombs in London two days prior to the Glasgow International Airport attack. Dr. Abdullah was the owner of the Jeep[77] and was charged with conspiracy to cause explosions.[78] He was remanded in custody awaiting trial, and was ultimately given two concurrent life sentences, of which he would be required to serve at least 32 years in prison.[79]

While Ahmed was on fire inside the car, Abdullah reportedly attacked Sergeant Torquil Campbell at the scene, in an attempt to prevent him from approaching the burning vehicle, running to the rear of the vehicle to try to open the back hatch. During the scuffle, police officer Stewart Ferguson was spraying the burning man with a fire extinguisher. Popping and banging could be heard coming from the vehicle.[80] A suicide note left behind indicates that the men intended to die in the attack.[13]

A resident of Neuk Crescent, Houston, outside Glasgow, Bilal Abdullah was born on 17 September 1980[81] in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire,[82] where his father, a medical doctor, was working. He qualified in medicine in Baghdad in 2004, and first registered as a doctor in the UK in 2006. He was given limited registration by the General Medical Council (GMC) from 5 August 2006 to 11 August 2007.[83] He worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Ward 10, in Paisley as a locum house-officer in the diabetes department, dealing with outpatients at a drop-in clinic and obstetric clinics.[84] [85] He had links to the Sunni Wahabist[86] sect and radical Islamic groups,[82][87] and had been disciplined for spending too much time on the internet at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.[88] He is also said to have come to the notice of the security service, after visiting Islamist websites.[77]

A silver Vauxhall Astra, which was subject to a controlled explosion by police on 3 July 2007, was believed to have been rented by Dr. Abdullah.[89]

During his testimony during trial, Bilal said his motivation was the destruction of Iraq, first through sanctions that included even medicine, the rise of childhood leukaemia which he blamed on depleted uranium armour-piercing shells used in the 1991 Gulf War, and for destruction of infrastructure during the US and British 2003 invasion of Iraq.[90]

Kafeel Ahmed and Bilal Abdullah were also behind the 2007 London car bombs plot, and investigations are being carried out to unearth a possible involvement with the deadly 2005 Indian Institute of Science shooting, an attack with unknown suspects who are still at large.[91]

Abdullah had been given limited registration by the General Medical Council (GMC) from 5 August 2006 to 11 August 2007.[83] The GMC's interim orders panel made a determination, subsequent to the Glasgow International Airport attacks, that Abdullah's registration should be suspended for 18 months, as an interim measure.[83] Since Abdullah's registration was already to expire on 11 August 2007, his registration was suspended only until then.[83]

On 17 December 2009 he was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of conspiracy to murder for the incidents in both London and Glasgow, and sentenced to life imprisonment with a requirement that he spend at least 32 years in jail.[92]

Other notable people[edit]

John Smeaton[edit]

Smeaton, a bag handler, was off duty when he saw the incident start to develop. He heard three explosions as he smoked a cigarette during his break. He ran over to help the police.[93] It was reported that Smeaton shouted "fuckin' mon, then"[citation needed] and aimed a kick in the testicles at Kafeel Ahmed, who later died from his 90% burns following the attack.[94] During the incident Smeaton also helped drag Michael Kerr to safety after Kerr had been left lying with a broken leg beside the burning jeep after kicking Ahmed.[95]

The incident has been described as inspiring others to take personal initiative and act decisively in a crisis. Newsagent and former policeman Mohammed Afzah cited Smeaton as inspiration for his facing down and repelling a would-be armed robber.[96] In late July, Smeaton returned to his old job as a baggage handler at the airport.[97] Later in the year he accepted a job as head of security at a nearby company.[98]

Smeaton was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal;[99][100] this was presented by The Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 4 March 2008.

In July 2010 it was announced that seven others would be awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for their parts in combating the threat.[101]

Reactions[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was kept briefed on developments by officials. He chaired a meeting of COBRA, the government's emergency committee, on the evening of the Glasgow incident to deal with both it and the two car bombs shortly preceding it. He also spoke to the First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond regarding the incident.[102] Brown further addressed the issues by telling the media, "I know that the British people will stand together".[1][2] He thanked emergency services and urged the public to remain vigilant.

Scottish Government[edit]

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, along with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill and the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini participated in the COBRA meeting chaired by Gordon Brown. Salmond stated that "The incident at Glasgow Airport today as well as recent events in London show that we face threats both north and south of the border – and both the Scottish and UK governments are united in our determination to stand up to that threat to protect our communities".[103]

Kenny MacAskill, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, insisted that the recent terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport was not committed by 'home-grown' terrorists.[104]

Home Office[edit]

At 20:15, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack and that the United Kingdom terrorism threat level had been elevated from "Severe" to "Critical", meaning "further attacks are expected imminently".[1][2][26][33][105]

On the night of the attack, Scottish television station STV was meant to broadcast a one-off programme on the soon-to-be-released movie (at the time of the incident), Die Hard 4.0, however due to the nature of the film, the decision was taken to replace the programme. National TV channel ITV changed its schedule on the night of Monday 2 July following the attack: it was to show the film Die Hard 2 (which is about terrorists attacking an airport) as the Monday evening film, but replaced it with Cliffhanger.

On 4 July, the national status was lowered from "Critical" back to "Severe".

International[edit]

  • United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff stated that "We have been in close contact with our counterparts in the U.K. regarding today's incident at the Glasgow airport and yesterday's car bomb discoveries in London. Our law enforcement and intelligence officials are closely monitoring the ongoing investigations. The senior leadership of the U.S. government has been meeting on these issues both yesterday and today. DHS and the FBI have provided updates and protective measures guidance to our state and local homeland security and law enforcement partners".

Security responses[edit]

According to the Metropolitan Police extra officers were deployed at landmarks, airports, railway stations and bus terminals across the country on Sunday with orders to increase the use of stop and search powers, while armed police were patrolling major rail stations. They also said that there would be at least 450 officers monitoring a Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 1 July in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.[2]

In response to both the attack on Glasgow Airport and the attempted attacks on London, security around the on-going Wimbledon tennis championships in south-west London was increased, with the use of concrete car blockers.[106] Security measures were also increased at the T in the Park music festival in Balado, Kinross, which took place the weekend after the attack on Glasgow Airport.[107]

Aftermath[edit]

Before the attacks, vehicles were allowed to drive in front of the front terminal; after the attacks the entrance to the airport for any vehicles was blocked off.

At approximately 08:00 on 1 July 2007, the police stated that a phased reopening would begin, allowing the airport to return to normal. The first flight after the incident was due to leave at approximately 09:00. Strathclyde Police searched a number of houses in nearby Houston.[108] At 15:10 (23 hours 59 minutes after the attack), the main terminal building (Terminal 1) re-opened. The inner lanes immediately in front of the terminal building remain off limits to all vehicles, and only authorised public transport vehicles are being allowed to use the outer lanes.

Police in Liverpool arrested one man in connection with the events in Glasgow and London, and two people were arrested by police on the M6 near Sandbach in Cheshire. Two Liverpool addresses were searched, in the Mossley Hill and Toxteth areas.[109]

Mohammad Sarwar, MP for the nearby constituency of Glasgow Central, reported that threats had been made against the Muslim community in Scotland following the incident.[110]

Other airports[edit]

Damage caused to the terminal from the inside after the attacks.

Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle's airports all took measures to prevent similar action by blocking off roads approaching and in front of the terminal buildings, with the terminals and blockades policed by their respective local police forces.

Concrete blocks protect the Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport from access by vehicles

London Luton Airport moved the taxi ranks away from the main terminal building. Blackpool International Airport was shut down temporarily.[27] Glasgow Prestwick, the city's second airport, was kept open with armed police on site. London Heathrow Airport advised people not to bring private cars near the passenger terminals for security reasons.

On the evening of 30 June, Liverpool John Lennon Airport was closed for eight hours while a vehicle was removed and taken away for forensic testing, reopening at about 04:40 on Sunday morning.[35]

Pearson International Airport, in Toronto, Canada increased security measures in response to the attack.[111]

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said that airport security in the United States would be tightened,[105][112] but that the airport terror alert level would remain at its current status, "Orange" (also called "High"), where it has been since late 2006.[105][113] An additional issued statement from the Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stated, "... at this point, I have seen no specific, credible information suggesting that this latest incident is connected to a threat to the [United States]."[105]

An article on the website of ABC News alleged that United States law enforcement officials were informed two weeks prior to the Glasgow incident of possible attacks on "airport infrastructure or aircraft" in Scotland and the Czech Republic, leading to the placement of Federal Air Marshals on flights into and out of Glasgow and Prague.[114]

On 1 July, the American Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was evacuated due to a suspicious package left on the kerb.[115]

Appeals for information[edit]

On 1 July the police asked to hear from anyone with information about the dark green Jeep Cherokee, registration number L808 RDT, and also asked for any amateur footage or photos taken of the vehicle on fire.[15]

Public reaction[edit]

This attack, and the earlier attempt in London, were both notable as high-profile, yet substantially unsuccessful.[37] The public reaction – particularly in the blogosphere – was amusement as much as fear.[116][117] The humour mainly derived from the perceived ineptitude of the attackers, and also their choice of Glasgow as a target, a city whose citizens are considered by the rest of the United Kingdom to be amongst the toughest, and the last with whom one would pick a fight. Glaswegian comedian Frankie Boyle quipped "I just love the naïveté of someone trying to bring religious war to Glasgow," referencing the city's long tradition of tension between Catholics and Protestants.

The baggage handler John Smeaton became a minor celebrity following his actions in curbing the attack and the news interviews he gave, and was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.[118]

Trial[edit]

The trial of Bilal Abdullah, arrested at the scene of the attack concluded in December 2008. During the trial more details emerged of the connection between the Glasgow attacks and the attempted car-bombing of London's West End just a few days earlier. Abdullah and Kafeel Ahmed were linked to both attacks.[119] E-mail and mobile phone conversations indicated the men first contacted each other in February 2007. Receipts and CCTV images discovered by police showed Kafeel Ahmed bought components for an improvised bomb, including nails, from hardware store B&Q. The pair were also believed to have carried out reconnaissance in London. On 28 June 2007 Ahmed and Abdulla left Scotland in the two-second-hand Mercedes vehicles and were recorded on CCTV driving to London and parking both vehicles in locations in the West End. After the bombs failed to detonate the men stayed at the Newham Hotel, Romford Road, before leaving London by train via Stansted. They were then captured again on CCTV at Johnstone railway station, near Glasgow. Returning to the "bomb factory" in Glasgow they modified the Jeep into an improvised bomb. After filling the Jeep with explosive material, Abdullah and Ahmed left early the following morning, driving around the Loch Lomond area for several hours before attempting their failed attack on Glasgow Airport. Following the trial verdict, Abdullah was sentenced to a minimum of 32 years in prison as a result of his involvement in both incidents.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′51″N 4°25′56″W / 55.864150°N 4.432120°W / 55.864150; -4.432120