“Islamic extremists”: Accomplice of AQ henchman Barot suspected in car bomb, tried to detonate twice; Update: Three men from Birmingham area sought; Update: Gov’t warned nightclubs about terror a few weeks ago

posted at 3:27 pm on June 29, 2007 by Allahpundit

We’ve got a news burst at 3:10 so it’s time for a new thread. First, the car in Park Lane wasn’t found there, it was found in Trafalgar Square and towed for being illegally parked.

At the Park Lane garage, workers called authorities when they became suspicious after news of the first incident, because the car smelled of gas.

Police and security sources say the car was found to contain components very similar to the first car — definitely fuel, and possibly much more.

They said the car is of grave concern, and could potentially be a second car bomb.

A senior U.S. official with knowledge of the London investigation told CNN the car was linked to the vehicle outside the club, and that some materials found inside the car were very similar to explosive materials found in the car near Piccadilly Circus.

Sounds like the car on Fleet Street was a false alarm so there are only two bombs found thus far. Meanwhile, at the Blotter, sources are telling Brian Ross that this is indeed a jihadist plot. And they’ve got a hot lead. Surprise:

British police have a “crystal clear” picture of the man who drove the bomb-rigged silver Mercedes outside a London nightclub, and officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com he bears “a close resemblance” to a man arrested by police in connection with another bomb plot but released for lack of evidence.

Officials say the suspect had been taken into custody in connection with the case of al Qaeda operative Dhiren Barot, who was convicted of orchestrating a vehicle bomb plot involving targets in London, New York, Newark, N.J. and Washington, D.C.

Officials say a surveillance camera caught the suspect “staggering from the Mercedes” shortly after parking it outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub.

U.S. and British law enforcement officials tell ABC News it is increasingly clear Friday’s bomb plot in London involves multliple vehicles, and is described by a senior official as a “terror plot involving lslamic extremists.”

Needless to say, it’s anything but surprising to find a Barot connection here. FYI, according to Ross, two cell phones were used as detonators in the first car. Both numbers had been called — twice.

Update: The second car bomb in Park Lane is also a Mercedes. The jihad don’t come cheap, baby.

Update: “How many more?” wonders the Mail, which now claims (without saying how it knows) that the suspect who drove the first car bomb “calmly parked the vehicle and walked away.”

Update: NBC gets a scoop of its own — they’re looking for three men from in or around Birmingham. Anything noteworthy about Birmingham? Yup.

That’s not the only scoop in the NBC report, either. Remember the update in the last post about Danger Room suspecting a crude fuel-air bomb here? Well:

The car was jammed with gasoline and 18 to 20 boxes of roofing nails. Six to eight tanks of propane, intended to mix with the gasoline in a mist to make a fuel-air explosion, were inside and around the car, counterterrorism officials told NBC News…

Officials told NBC that the car was filled with at least 250 pounds of fuel, creating a highly explosive bomb of the type that had been seen in Iraq but not, until now, in the West.

Islamist terrorist suspects convicted in recent London cases have spoken of moving up to more deadly fuel-air explosives, authorities said.

Update: The flaw in the plan? According to ABC, the fuel-air mixture was incorrect.

Update: The second car was packed with nails, too.

Update: It’s almost certainly just a coincidence, but this‘ll be good for some primo nutroots conspiracizing tomorrow morning. A nugget within reveals what the plotters might have intended here. I didn’t realize the two cars were so near each other:

One car, a pale green Mercedes, had been left outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket. A second, a blue Mercedes, was left a few hundred yards away in Cockspur Street, a busy thoroughfare close to Trafalgar Square. Both contained fuel, gas canisters and nails, but both car bombs failed to detonate. Had either device gone off it would have generated a huge fireball and a shock wave spreading over 400 yards in all directions. If, as suspected, one had been primed to detonate before the other, people fleeing the first blast would have been caught directly in the line of fire of second.

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