June 29, 2007

Police Find Bomb in London, Launch Terrorism Probe

British police defused a bomb on Friday in a parked car in Haymarket, close to Piccadilly Circus, in an area packed with theatres, restaurants and pubs. Sky News quoted unidentified sources as saying the bomb was "potentially massive." A police officer said witnesses had seen the vehicle driving erratically before crashing into some bins outside a nightclub in the early hours of Friday. The driver got out and ran away, they said.

A British security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the security details, said there were similarities between the device and vehicle bombs used by insurgents in Iraq. But the two officials in Washington said it was too early in the investigation to tell if those similarities were significant.

A controlled explosion was carried out on the car, packed with 60 litres of petrol, gas cylinders and nails, in Haymarket, near Piccadilly Circus.

Hours before London explosives technicians dismantled a large car bomb in the heart of the British capital's tourist-rich theater district, a message appeared on one of the most widely used jihadist Internet forums, saying:

Today I say: Rejoice, by Allah, London shall be bombed.
CBS News found the posting, which went on for nearly 300 words, on the "al Hesbah" chat room. It was left by a person who goes by the name abu Osama al-Hazeen, who appears regularly on the forum. The comment was posted on the forum, according to time stamp, at 08:09 a.m. British time on June 28 -- about 17 hours before the bomb was found early on June 29.