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London Bomb Attack Goes Bust

John on June 29, 2007 at 12:56 am

Update: Sounds like it may have been heroism as much as luck:

Only a stroke of good luck and the heroism of bomb disposal men, who disabled the device by hand as it gave off fumes, prevented an atrocity.

Sky News reports that the police believe the bomb was set to be detonated by mobile phone trigger and that officers risked their lives by removing the trigger.

A Mercedes left near the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket was packed with 60 litres of petrol in containers, propane gas canisters and hundreds of nails. It also had a full tank of petrol.

More than 1,000 people were inside for a ‘Sugar ‘n’ Spice night’ which the club calls the ‘finest ladies’ night in London’. There were thousands more in the surrounding streets and neighbouring clubs.

But before it could go off, the alarm was raised. An ambulance crew treating a man who had fallen over and banged his head happened to notice petrol vapour, which they thought was smoke, filling the car.

Some reports say a bomb robot was used to examine the car. Other reports say a lone cop, one of the first to arrive, saw the trigger device and disabled it. This story from the Times says, had it gone off, the bomb:

would have generated a fireball the size of a house and a shock wave spreading out over a diameter of at least 400 yards, explosives experts said today.

The propane cylinders and petrol used in the device would have triggered a huge conflagration, as well as causing shrapnel and blast injuries from the exploding car chassis and the nails packed around the bomb, according to Hans Michels, Professor of Safety Engineering at Imperial College, London.

[End update]

Sounds like Londoners got very lucky last evening. Sky News reports:

It is believed that a major terrorist attack in the heart of the capital has been thwarted.
Police were called to reports of a suspicious vehicle parked in The Haymarket area shortly before 2am this morning…

Eyewitnesses say a man in the car was driving erratically and then crashed into bins near a nightclub called Tiger Tiger.

He fled the scene and then bouncers nearby raised the alarm.

Was the car supposed to ignite on impact? Did the guy hit the brakes? Did his detonator not go off? It sounds like only an accident prevented a major terror attack.

For whatever reason, police are only saying the attempted bomber “wasn’t Irish.” As Sky news notes, this is code for “He was Islamic.” No surprise there. The first thing that has me worried is that the last London attack was a coordinated effort. Are there other car bombs out there on London’s roads right now?

I also can’t help but recall the incendiary commentary piece from the London Times I was responding to just two weeks ago. Author Anatoly Kaletsky was browbeating readers into a split from “crazy America.” His suggestion was to…

…positively forestall further disasters by breaking publicly with the Bush Administration and trying to develop a genuine European alternative to the suicidal American-led policies, not only in Iraq, but also in Israel, Palestine and Iran.

Maybe this narrowly avoided disaster can serve as a reminder that running away is not going to “forestall further disasters.”

Sky News has video from the scene.

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Category: Islamic Jihad |

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