Update: According to reports on the Blotter at ABCNews.com U.S. law enforcement officials received intelligence reports two weeks ago that warned of a possible terror attack in Glasgow against "airport infrastructure or aircraft." It appears that the reports resulted in the deployment of Sky marshalls on flights in and out of Glasgow Airport.
The intelligence reports also apparently warned that airports and aircraft in the Czech Republic could be targeted by Al Qaeda-connected terrorists.
The suggestion is that the warnings were kept secret for operational reasons. In public, the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff maintain they know of no specific or credible threats to the United States, although the intelligence reports specify US aircraft as possible targets.
Original Story - (including eyewitness accounts)
In what appears to be a continuing series of terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, at 3:15 pm today two men rammed a blazing Cherokee Jeep car into the main terminal doors at Glasgow Airport. One of the men was seen pouring petrol over himself and the car. There was initial confusion when an alternative report at one point suggested that Strathclyde police had reported that two cars had collided outside the terminal building with one car bursting into flames.
Eye witness reports however said that the car had been driven into the terminal building at Glasgow Airport by two Asian men. Eyewitnesses reported that one of the men had his clothes on fire and these were extinguished by members of terminal staff. Both men were then reported to have started fighting with the police. A member of the public (Stephen Clarkson) who was an eye witness was reported to have hit one of the men and knocked him down.
"I saw people panicking running towards me. I saw a Jeep had crashed into the terminal. An Asian male was lying on the ground on fire and the Jeep was on fire. The police and airport officials tried to restrain him but he started fighting. He tried to open the boot of the Jeep. That's when the police tried to restrain him but he was quite strong. I knocked him down. The man was disoriented. His clothes has practically burned from his body. He was talking gibberish. The Jeep exploded"
The two men were said to have been taken into custody. A later report from Strathclyde police however appeared to suggest that four men have been arrested following the incident but more recently this was retracted and it was confirmed that two men had been arrested.
The airport has been evacuated and all incoming and outgoing flights have been suspended.
A local taxi driver Ian Crosbie reported seeing the car drive deliberately into the building and reported that he saw something in the back of the building. "It appeared to me to be a deliberate attack". It looks like the police and authorities had no inclination that there might be an attack at the airport. When I looked at the vehicle I saw smoke coming from the back seat, there was something on the back seat. This was no accident. It accelerated to get to where it ended up. The public very bravely attacked these men. The people who fought these men put their lives at risk."
There are traffic calming measures all around that part of Glasgow Airport so it seems clear that this car must have been driven deliberately into the airport terminal building.
A maintenance worker, a Mr Conroy, suggested that one of the occupants of the car had been seen spreading petrol around the car trying to set it on fire. He said he was in no doubt that it was no accident, it happened in an area reserved for taxis . He said it appeared a deliberate if amateurish attack.
Another eyewitness, James Clark, said he was standing outside when he saw the car hit the terminal building and he saw the man get a can of petrol out and pour it over himself and the car. He said he saw the man try to get the boot of the car open. He said that he saw the man hit one man who tried to tackle him but then another member of the public knocked him down. "It seemed like an eternity, a good five minutes, before any other police turned up. Initially there was just the one policeman."
Simon Howard another eye witness said that the car tried to crash through twice and he saw a man in passenger seat in the car with what looked like a petrol bomb in his hand. He said that it looked like a bottle with liquid and with flames at the top. he said it looked as though the m,an was going to try to throw it. He said the driver seemed to be still trying to rev the car to get it further into the building. He said that at that point there was some panic as passengers in the terminal building tried to flee the scene.
Whitehall Officials at this stage were reported by the BBC's Frank Gardiner ( a terrorism and security expert) as saying that they were not treating this at this point as suggesting a national security threat but rather as a more local police matter. The hope would be however that nevertheless other UK airports have been put on the highest security alert to control the risk that there may be further attacks. Later reports confirmed that the UK alert level had been raised to critical.
It is unclear if the attack is connected to the recent botched attacks in London. One possibility is that these may be the two men that police are pursuing in connection with the failed car bombs and that this was their way of going out in a "blaze of glory" rather than being captured by the police who will now be pursuing them. It could however also be a co-ordinated or a completely unconnected attack.
Initial pictures showed a blaze at the Glagsgow Airport terminal building and fire engines attended the scene. It appeared that a significant amount of damage had been inflicted to the front of the terminal building. Initially there were no reports of any injuries to members of the public, later a member of the public who had tried to tackle one of the terrorists was reported to have been injured.
Mohammed Sarwar an Asian MP for Glasgow said "We should all remain calm and don't jump to any conclusions. I am sure the police will make a statement. If this was not an accident then it is something serious for us all."