Fresh arrests as hunt for suspects in UK terror plot widens
TWO more men were in custody today and police across Scotland were granted broad stop-and-search powers, as authorities expanded their investigation to more than a dozen locations following the attempted terror attacks in Glasgow and London.
This raises to seven the number of people under arrest following the unsuccessful car-bomb attack at Glasgow Airport on Saturday, when two men attempted to drive their four-wheel drive vehicle carrying gas cannisters and petrol into the main entrance of Terminal 1. The incident came a day after two failed attacks in London that featured similar attempts to use vehicles and explosive materials to injure innocent people.
Strathclyde Police said the latest arrests were the result of "intensive police operations in the Paisley area last night". Police said the two men, aged 28 and 25, are not believed to be of Scottish origin.
Police believe the London and Glasgow incidents are related. MI5 responded by raising the terror threat level in the UK to "critical" - the highest level - suggesting a new attack is "imminent".
One of the men allegedly involved in the Glasgow attack remains in a critical condition at Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital, under police guard, after apparently setting himself on fire at the scene of the crashed vehicle. The other person in the vehicle, a 27-year-old, is being held at an undisclosed location.
Two of the seven under arrest are reported to be doctors trained in the Middle East and working in the UK. One of doctors reportedly was in the 4x4 vehicle on Saturday and apparently worked at the same hospital where he is now being cared for.
The Royal Alexandra was the scene of beefed up police presence this afternoon. Police cordoned off an area believed to be the hospital's residential block for further investigation.
All eight of Scotland's police forces were today given stop-and-search powers, granted by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith under the Terrorism Act. The legislation allows police to search any person or vehicle, as well as items carried by a person or in a vehicle.
Ms Smith told the Commons that the country would not be "intimidated" by "those who wish to destroy our way of life and our freedoms". She said at least 19 locations in the UK were being searched in this fast-moving investigation.
Arrests were also made on the weekend in Liverpool and on the M6 motorway in Cheshire. Detectives have been granted more time to question these three suspects, who were being held at Paddington Green police station, London.
First Minister Alex Salmond, speaking to reporters earlier today, said: "Everything is being done to keep our communities safe from harm." He said travellers he had met at Glasgow Airport had responded with understanding and good humour to the delays to their flights.
Mr Salmond said raising the threat level did not mean that authorities knew of a specific looming attack.
Assistant Chief Constable John Malcolm, of Strathclyde Police said: "This continues to be a fast-moving investigation and I am grateful to the public for their perseverance and support during these difficult times. I would continue to urge people to be vigilant."If you witnessed the developments in Glasgow on Saturday and have additional, relevant information - including images - that you wish to share with scotsman.com, please contact us at email@example.com.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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