Check out the cover of the Sunday Mail. I can’t find a full-sized version of the image on the site (Update: see below) but it looks much clearer than a cell-phone photo and can only have been taken moments after the Jeep hit, after the guy had (allegedly) immolated himself.
The car was laden with gas canisters but failed to ram its way through after getting caught on a road sign. Our exclusive picture shows the attacker in a boiler suit and plastic bags over his feet instead of shoes – the typical uniform of a suicide bomber.
His face was covered by a red and white scarf – similar to those worn in other terror attacks…
[T]he off-duty officer grabbed an extinguisher to try to put out flames engulfing the first attacker.
Despite his terrible burns, the terrorist started hitting the officer screaming: “It’s a bomb, it’s a bomb.”
Two on-duty policemen felled him with a CS spray and arrested him.
I’ll have more Glasgow links here later so stand by for updates, but in the meantime your rhetorical exit question: How did they get such an amazing shot?
Update: The baggage handler with the (nearly) impenetrable accent heard the bomber yelling “Allah” when he was throwing punches, not “It’s a bomb.” I wonder who’s right.
Update: Two good points from the comments. It’s an airport so it stands to reason there are people walking around with high-end touristy cameras. In which case, that’s one steely tourist who had the smarts and guts to stand there and start snapping. Another reader notes the claim in the article that boiler suits are the “uniform of a suicide bomber.” Really? Since when do suicide bombers wear uniforms?
Update: The police are holding a press conference in Glasgow now. A spokesman says the links between the three attacks are becoming “ever clearer” and that details about the “network” should be coming out in the next days and weeks.
Update: A follow-up on the “suspect device” that was found on the guy being hosed down in the photo — turns out it wasn’t so suspect.
Strathclyde police said early today that explosives experts had determined the device was safe and not a suicide belt, as the media had speculated.
Update: Another follow-up, this time of the ABC report yesterday that the U.S. was warned about threats to aviation in Glasgow: Chertoff refused to comment specifically on it but said any intel we might have had would have been shared with the Brits.
Update: We’ll have to wait to see to what the deal was with yesterday’s attack, but here’s a detail about the Mercedes bombs in London that Larry “Non-event” Johnson won’t be happy to hear.
Chris Driver-Williams, a retired British army major who is a consultant to the U.S. and British governments on bombs manufactured by terrorist groups, said the two car bombs may have appeared crude but their explosive firepower could have been “catastrophic.”
According to some reports, the valves on the gas cylinders were left open, which Driver-Williams said was a strong indication that the bombers intended to create a “fuel-air” explosion. “What you’re effectively creating is a thermobaric device,” he said, referring to an explosion that relies on oxygen in the atmosphere to ignite a blast wave more powerful than many conventional explosives.
Fuel-air explosives are difficult to ignite, and the timing is especially tricky, Driver-Williams said. A mistake might result in two separate but minor explosions — such as a burning car — if the fuel-air mixture does not ignite properly. If it does, however, the result would be a “fireball the size of a house.”
Danger Room, which was all over this angle before the media had touched it, has since updated its original post with this detail:
[T]raditional defenses against car bombs may not work against this kind of attack. “In particular,” Hambling notes, “barriers set up to give a safe stand-off distance from truck or car bombs packed with conventional explosives may be not enough to prevent a fuel-air blast which can create dangerous overpressure at a much greater range.”
Update: The Daily Mail has the full-sized photo and notes that Penny Lane in Liverpool has been blocked off as part of the terror investigation. On behalf of all Beatles fans: heart-ache.
Update: It’s already old news by now but there’s been a fifth arrest in connection with the attack in addition to the two bombers themselves and the two people detained in northern England late last night — on the highway, presumably while they were on their way out of Dodge. Investigators have a hot lead on the Friday car bombs, too:
CBS News has learned the police have been able to reconstruct the journey of the bomb vehicles through London using closed-circuit TV images.
And using license plate recognition technology, the police now know precisely where and when the bombers brought their cars into central London.
Those video cameras are sophisticated and sensitive at night. Sources say there are good quality images of both drivers. CBS News has learned that the police know the identity of at least one of the suspects.
Update: Also old-ish news by now too gold not to mention, it’s Tony Blair on the jihad. A promising hint of new candor to come now that he’s been freed from the political shackles of the premiership: ‘The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle is that we’re not actually fighting it properly. We’re not actually standing up to these people and saying, “It’s not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn’t justified.”‘ And: ‘When I’m trying to change the law in order to make it easier to deport people who engage in terrorism – the idea that that’s an assault on hundreds of years of British civil liberties is completely absurd. Some of what is written on this is loopy-loo in its extremism.’
Update: Maybe this solves the “Allah”/”It’s a bomb” confusion — it was taxi drivers in the area who were yelling that the car was a bomb.
Update: MI5 finds itself in the odd position here of hoping that it simply failed to track closely enough guys it already knew about. The nightmare scenario is that they’re “cleanskins” — i.e., people they didn’t know about at all.
“If there is no trace then this means the terrorism situation in the UK is much worse than we have believed and everything we have been doing – the expansion of MI5 – will have to be reassessed,” said a highly placed source. The British sources also revealed that one theory was the terrorists may have been sent from abroad to launch the latest attacks.
Police were still hunting an Iraqi, suspected of plotting similar attacks, who went on the run on June 18 while under a British control order restricting his movements.
Update: Needless to say, if it turns out that one or more of the suspects who slipped their control orders were involved in this, it’s going to give Gordon Brown all the political cover he needs to pass new security measures. According to the AP, Britons are already starting to accept “Big Brotherish surveillance.” Meanwhile, another tantalizing detail from Big Brother:
One official said that investigators in London had a picture, apparently from one of Britain’s ubiquitous CCTV security cameras, of the two Mercedes used in the London bombings parked next to each other, a potential clue to where and how the failed London attacks were prepared and staged.
Some investigators have note that some sophisticated planning almost certainly went into the attacks: the booby-trapped Mercedes parked outside the Tiger Tiger club near Piccadilly Circus was parked in a legal parking zone, a rarity in a traffic-clogged district where parking is mostly banned. This suggests the bombers conducted advance reconnaissance on their target.
A car-bomb manual allegedly published by Al Qaeda in Iraq warns would-be bombers not to park illegally.
Update: Just across on Fox, via Sky — the suspects are not believed to be homegrown, and at least one is still at large.
Update: More from Sky about the suspects — two of them are “hospital doctors.” Zawahiri is a doctor by trade himself, as was now-liquidated former Hamas chief Abdel Aziz Rantissi. Money quote: “This is very far removed from the picture we normally have. These are professional people with highly paid jobs who are intent on killing people.”
Update: Finally, a clear frontal image of one of the suspects. The Daily Mail‘s got it, and the eyewitnesses obviously weren’t kidding about the flames burning the guy’s clothes off. The Mail also notes that of the two doctor suspects, one of them was the driver yesterday in the Glasgow attack. More:
One of the doctors, the man arrested on the [highway], was said to be a Jordanian-born doctor at the North Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent.
He lived with his wife and baby in a rented house in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, where forensic officers were carrying out a detailed search last night…
The doctor involved in the Glasgow attack is an Iraqi who is thought to have been granted asylum in the UK while a third suspect comes from Lebanon…
A bomb factory is believed to have been found at an address in Scotland and more arrests are expected.
Police had been close been on the trail of the Glasgow bombers, checking an address linked to them just minutes before they drove their four wheel-drive Jeep Cherokee into the airport arrivals lounge.
I have to admit, I wonder if that last detail is true or whether they’re circulating it just to make the public feel a little confident that they have some sense of where all (or almost all) of the UK’s jihadists are.
Update: NBC got a copy of the NYPD’s threat assessment of the Glasgow bombings. Quote: “Approximately 150 Britons have traveled to fight in Iraq; a number are believed to have returned and formed ‘sleeper cells.'” I can’t wait to hear more about that Iraqi doctor.
Update: We’ve got our first name, courtesy of the Beeb. Steyn’s got a line he likes to use about how “whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed.” He won’t be disappointed in this case. Meanwhile, the Times is the first newspaper I’ve seen to confirm an important link between the Glasgow attack and the ones in London: the Glasgow Jeep was also carrying “propane gas containers,” suggesting that it too was meant to be a fuel-air bomb.