Two doctors face car-bomb terror trial in London

Two doctors charged with trying to bomb a Glasgow airport and London’s West End will be portrayed by prosecutors as terrorists in thrall to a fundamental form of Islam, a jury in London heard Wednesday. Justice Colin Mackay also instructed jurors to set aside their prejudices and prepare for “an interesting case.” Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 28, have been in jail awaiting trial since the abortive June 2007 attacks. The Iraqi-raised Abdulla and Asha, a Jordanian, had worked in British hospitals since 2004. Two poorly designed car bombs abandoned outside West End night spots on June 29, 2007, failed to detonate. They were discovered only accidentally — one when paramedics spotted it emitting smoke, the other after it had been towed away by traffic enforcement officials. Police said both contained drums of fuel, packs of nails, timers and detonators. The following day, an attempted suicide car-bomb attack on Glasgow International Airport caused only one death — that of attacker Kafeel Ahmed, who suffered lethal burns while trying to ignite a propane-based bomb on board his vehicle. Indian-born Ahmed was the alleged driver of the sports-utility vehicle that rammed into security barriers outside the airport, while Abdulla was the alleged passenger. Police suspect that Abdulla and Ahmed also delivered the West End car bombs. Asha was arrested hours after the Glasgow attack while driving with his wife on an English highway, and police subsequently identified him as a likely ringleader based on cell-phone and other electronic records. Shawn Pogatchnik reports.

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Iraq-style car bombs reach Britain: Two failed attacks in London’s West End and a fireball in Glasgow

Britain’s national threat level was raised to “critical” after three attempted car bombings last week in London and Glasgow. Police and intelligence officers confirmed that there was a direct link between the attack on Glasgow airport last Saturday and two attempted car bombings in London last Friday. This confirmed the reality of a renewed UK offensive by Islamist extremists. Prime Minister Gordon Brown summoned intelligence chiefs and ministers to the Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall to discuss the security situation. It was agreed to raise the threat level to the highest degree possible, a decision that confirmed another attack was expected soon. The first two “Iraqi-style” car bombs had been found in London by chance in the early hours of Friday morning.