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Doctors among those detained in UK terror probes

  • Story Highlights
  • Two more suspects arrested, Scotland Yard confirms
  • Controlled explosion carried out on car at hospital treating suspect
  • Police search houses in a town close to Glasgow
  • Vehicle crashes into terminal, burns; event linked to London car bombs
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GLASGOW, Scotland (CNN) -- Two suspects arrested in connection with failed attacks in Scotland and London are doctors and investigators are examining whether any of the plotters came to Britain to study or practice medicine, police and intelligence sources said.


An off-duty officer uses a fire extinguisher on what the Sunday Mail said was an occupant of the Glasgow SUV.

The physicians are among five people, including one woman, arrested in a wide-ranging investigation of the incidents in Glasgow and London that have sent Britain to its highest state of alert.

Those arrested include two men who rammed an explosives-laden SUV into the terminal building at Glasgow International Airport in Scotland on Saturday.

One of the men set himself on fire after he jumped from the burning vehicle. He remains in critical condition at the Royal Alexandra Hospital near Glasgow, a hospital spokesman said.

Bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion on a car at that hospital on Sunday. Video Watch the latest on the investigation »

"There was no danger to any of the public, and there's no cause of concern in relation to that vehicle," Assistant Chief Constable John Malcolm said at a news conference in Glasgow.

The car was thought to be connected to Saturday's attack at the airport, a police spokesman told The Associated Press.

Security has been tight at the hospital after police confiscated a suspicious item on the suspect's body when he was admitted on Saturday, calling for a partial evacuation of the hospital. Further tests are pending, but police said it was not believed to be an explosive device.

The attack at Scotland's busiest airport, which according to Reuters caused five slight injuries and damaged the airport entrance, came 36 hours after two car bombs loaded with fuel, gas canisters and nails were found in central London.

Authorities think the two incidents are related. Investigators continue to sift through thousands of hours of closed-circuit television footage taken outside Glasgow's airport and near the locations where the car bombs were found in London. Photo See photos of the investigation in action »

Without offering any specifics, the head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command Peter Clarke said Sunday "the links between the three attacks are becoming ever clearer."

"We are learning a great deal about the people who were involved in the attacks here in Glasgow and the attempted attacks in central London," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Clarke.

"We are pursuing many lines of inquiry, I'm confident, absolutely confident, that in the coming days and weeks, we will be able to gain a thorough understanding of the methods used by the terrorists, of the way in which they planned their attacks, and the network to which they belong."

Police have conducted raids in locations across Britain -- including at least two addresses in Liverpool, a neighborhood near Glasgow, and north Staffordshire, police said.

The raids in Liverpool stemmed from an arrest of a 26-year-old man who was picked up early Sunday in the northwest city, according to Merseyside police.

Officers also raided a "number of houses" in Scotland in an operation they said was linked to both Saturday's airport attack and the London bombs.

In the small Scottish village of Houston, just outside Glasgow, video footage showed police combing a three-bedroom rental house.

Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill described those behind the airport attack as "not born and bred here," indicating they were not Scottish, the UK Press Association reported.

Authorities have not released the nationalities of any of the five arrested. First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond did say that the two suspects in the Glasgow attack were not from Scotland and had not lived in the area "for any length of time."

On Sunday, a terminal at London's Heathrow airport was briefly closed "due to a suspect package," the British Airports Authority reported. Metropolitan Police said the device was found to be harmless a short time later.

Officials are also investigating a suspicious car that was found and towed away from John Lennon Airport in Liverpool, England, on Saturday to determine if it was somehow linked to the other attempted terror attacks.

As a precaution, police closed the Liverpool airport on Saturday night but it was reopened early Sunday.

The Glasgow airport reopened Sunday afternoon. Read how disruptions hit Glasgow after reopening

Those who witnessed the flaming Jeep Cherokee smash into the airport Saturday said one of the passengers was shouting "Allah" as he fought with police and a second man set himself on fire.

"We tried to subdue the guy, but he's a bad boy, he's not for being subdued," said airport worker John Smitten, who ran to help police in the aftermath of the crash.

"He was shouting something. 'Allah,' something, 'Allah.' Every time he threw a punch, he was saying 'Allah.' "

Smitten said the second man who was severely burned and "covered head-to-toe in flames" also tried to fight policemen after a taxi driver used a water hose to put out the fire.

Two men were immediately arrested at the airport.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Sunday said Britons must realize the terrorism threat their country faces is "long-term and sustained" and they must remain "constantly vigilant" about security.

Britain raised its terror alert status to the highest level of "critical," indicating an attack is imminent and the country's prime minister warned of dangers to come.

Brown said in a TV interview that Britons "will not yield, we will not be intimidated, and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life."

Brown, in office just three days, said Britons stood "united, resolute and strong."

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush was briefed on the situation, but officials said there was no information on increased threat to the United States and no plan to raise threat levels, although security was tightened at major airports.

In London, police were examining two cars filled with fuel, gas canisters and nails and studying CCTV footage for clues about the identities of those behind a suspected terrorist plot that could have killed hundreds. Photo See photos of the investigation in action »

Officers have a "crystal clear" CCTV image of a man "staggering" from the first car after parking it outside a West End nightclub, ABC News in the United States reported. Scotland Yard refused to comment.

British officials said hundreds of people could have been killed if the devices in the cars had been set off.

The first car was discovered parked near Piccadilly Circus; the second was found about an hour later, less than a kilometer away near Trafalgar Square.

London was hosting the Wimbledon tennis tournament, a gay pride march and a memorial concert for the late Diana, princess of Wales, this weekend. Read how security was boosted for Diana concert

In Washington, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told CNN's "Late Edition" that it is too early to tell who is behind the attack, but it is "a reasonable possibility" that it may be an al Qaeda-linked group.


"I don't think again we can be definitive about whether this is a plot that was directed from al Qaeda central so to speak or whether it reflects what we sometimes call homegrown terrorism," Chertoff said.

The weekend's incidents come days before the second anniversary of July 7, 2005, when four Islamic extremist suicide bombers killed 52 people on London's transport system in the deadliest strike on the city since World War II. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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