LONDON – A bomb disposal team carried out a controlled explosion on a car in Scotland Tuesday, a day after at least three physicians were identified as suspects in a series of failed car bomb attacks.
The number of people in custody rose to eight after authorities in Australia reported one arrest connected to the British investigation.
The controlled explosion was carried out early Tuesday morning on a suspicious car parked outside the Forth Street Mosque in Glasgow, the city where two men attempted to set off a car bomb at the airport on Saturday.
"There's absolutely no specific information to indicate that this vehicle is a threat, however we have been working very closely over the past few days with the bomb squad," Superintendent Stewart Daniels, of Strathclyde Police, told the British Broadcasting Corp.
Police said there was no indication that the mosque had any connection to the bombing attempt in Glasgow, or to two cars packed with gasoline and gas canisters discovered in London on Friday.
An Indian doctor was among the eight people in custody. British police confirmed a Palestinian doctor and an Iraqi physician were among those held, while Australian officials said a foreign doctor working there had been detained.
Australian authorities said the suspect was arrested at the airport in the eastern city of Brisbane.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio reported that a state medical board official had confirmed the suspect's name is Muhammad Haneef. A Medical Board of Queensland spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
"The first person taken into custody is an Indian national who came to Australia sponsored by the Queensland (state) health department," Australian Prime Minister John Howard told reporters.
Howard said that a second doctor was being interviewed.
A British security official said Monday that Pakistan and several other nations were asked to check possible links with the suspects. British-born terrorists behind the bloody 2005 London transit bombings and others in thwarted plots here were linked to terror training camps and foreign radicals in Pakistan.
Authorities said police searched at least 19 locations as part of the "fast-moving investigation," which has come at a time of already high vigilance before the anniversary of the suicide bombings in London that killed 52 people on July 7, 2005.
In the latest attacks, two car bombs failed to explode in central London on Friday and two men rammed a Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas cylinders into the entrance of Glasgow International Airport and then set it on fire Saturday.
The British government security official said investigators were working on one theory that the same people may have driven the explosives-laden cars into London and the blazing SUV in Glasgow.
The unidentified driver of the Jeep was being treated for serious burns at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Glasgow, where he was under arrest. Bomb experts carried out a second controlled explosion on a car at the hospital Monday, after a similar blast Sunday. Police said the car was linked to the investigation, but no explosives had been found.
Authorities identified Bilal Abdulla, an Iraqi doctor who worked at the Glasgow hospital, as the other man arrested at the airport.
According to the British General Medical Council's register, a man named Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla was registered in 2004 and trained in Baghdad. Staff at the Glasgow hospital said Abdulla was a diabetes specialist.
A man arrested late Saturday on a highway in central England was also a physician, Mohammed Jamil Abdelqader Asha, police said. A Jordanian official said Asha was of Palestinian descent and carried a Jordanian passport.
Britain's The Independent and The Muslim News newspapers reported that a man arrested in Liverpool late Saturday was a 26-year-old doctor from Bangalore, India, who worked at Halton Hospital in Cheshire, northern England. Police would not immediately comment on the reports.
The Muslim News also said the Indian doctor had used the car, cell phone and Internet account of a fellow physician who had moved from England to Australia around a year ago. It said police had asked friends of the Indian for details about the man who went to Australia.