The Times reports:
Police have defused a “potentially viable explosive device” in a car in Central London overnight raising fears of an attempted terrorist attack at the heart of the capital.
The device was found in the car parked in the Haymarket after a member of the public contacted officers at 2am with concerns about the suspicious vehicle.
Bomb disposal officers attended the scene to make the device safe, but the street remains closed along with the nearby Piccadilly Circus Tube station. The vehicle is expected to be taken away to the Forensic Explosives Laboratory in Kent for further tests.
It’s those pesky Presbyterians again, most likely. The usual strategy is for multiple blasts; other areas of London may be shut down for searches.
UPDATE. An Irish link not ruled out:
Intelligence sources in London said they were keeping an open mind on who was responsible for a car bomb found this morning in London’s Haymarket district. The device has since been made safe.
“All options, including the Irish, are open at this stage,” said the source.
UPDATE II. The search is on:
Police are now frantically searching landmark sites across the capital to check for further explosive devices. They are not sure whether the bomb was a lone device or more had been deployed across London.
Picture of the scene here.
British police … said the incident echoed the “Gas Limos Project”, a major al Qaeda plot foiled in 2004.
Convicted Islamist militant Dhiren Barot, who was jailed last year, admitted he had been planning to explode gas and explosives packed into limousines or other large vehicles in underground car parks in co-ordinated attacks across Britain.
UPDATE IV. Possible evidence of the usual multiple pattern, via Dylan Kissane:
Sky UK has just announced that Fleet Street has now been closed down after another ‘suspect vehicle’ was located. This makes the third …
UPDATE V. Second bomb found.
UPDATE VI. Search begins for the Birmingham Three:
British authorities were seeking three men Friday after police defused two car bombs that they said could have caused “significant injury or loss of life” in London.
The three men are believed to be from the Birmingham area, a center of radical Islamic unrest in Britain, U.S. officials who had been briefed on the developments told NBC News.
UPDATE VII. SMH headline: “London streets closed in panic over bombs”. A German visiting London tells the NYT: “There are millions of people here, people are walking around, nobody looks too frightened, I don’t think anybody is staying at home, or tourists are staying in their hotels. They always say that Londoners just take it as it comes, they don’t get nervous. English people are like that anyway, they just sort of mind their own business, they don’t get in a panic.” (Via Alan R.M. Jones)