London police refuse comment on US TV report of “crystal clear” CCTV image of driver running from first bomb car. Hunt on for terrorist-drivers as police boost London presence.

(Read debkafile‘s Special Analysis in articles below)
Two parked Mercedes cars containing explosive devices packed with petrol, gas and nails were disabled in the heart of London Friday. The suspected al Qaeda bomb plot has placed London on high alert.
The second car, illegally parked near Trafalgar Sq., was towed to the Park Lane pound near Hyde Park at around 3 a.m. Whole blocks of central London and famous landmarks like Piccadilly and Hyde Park were cleared and traffic disrupted after the first car bomb was found early Friday. Dept. asst. police commissioner Peter Clarke who linked the two reported the rigged vehicle packed with 60 liters of petrol, two gas cylinders and nails would have caused significant loss of life if it had detonated when people were leaving the night spots.
The modus operandi recalls suicide car bombings by al Qaeda in Iraq and Middle East terrorist groups.
The massive device was manually disabled by explosives officers after a block of theater, shopping and tourist streets around Haymarket in London’s West End was cordoned off. Clarke said the police were called after an ambulance crew, summoned to treat a person taken ill in the Tiger, Tiger club, at the corner of Haymarket and Piccadilly, spotted a suspicious car with smoke coming out of it.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report the smoke indicated that the gasoline packed in the device may have begun to ignite. The driver crashed into bins outside a nightclub hoping to detonate the car, then ran away. Police report the car bomb was to have been remotely detonated by a mobile phone trigger which an explosives officer disconnected.
The bomb plot was timed for Gordon Brown’s first day as UK prime minister and located to cause maximum casualties, an apparent warning that Tony Blair’s departure does not change the terrorist threat to Britain.
There was no intelligence warning of the attacks, which occurred one week before the second anniversary of the July 7 al Qaeda bombings of London transport. A huge amount of CCTV film is being examined together with the unexploded devices and vehicles for forensic materials. Police have launched a manhunt for the would-be bombers.
Clarke said the threat of terrorism is an enduring one and appealed for help from the public.
Gordon Brown on his first day as prime minister said the UK faces a serious and ongoing threat and called for public vigilance in the next few days. His first cabinet meeting was devoted to the near-calamity. The Cobra emergency team was called into session, chaired by the new home secretary Jacqui Smith.

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