London, June 29 (Reuters): British police investigating a car bomb, packed with petrol, gas cylinders and nails, found in London today said the incident echoed the “Gas Limos Project”, a major al Qaida 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.
Details of the plan, known as the “Gas Limos Project”, were found on a laptop computer during a search in Pakistan, and were thought by police to have been compiled to present to senior al Qaida leaders for a proposed attack. Peter Clarke, head of London’s Counter Terrorism Command, agreed there were some apparent similarities between Barot’s scheme and the gas-fuelled car bomb defused today. “In the Barot case, sometimes referred to as Operation Rhyme, we saw reference to vehicles being filled with gas or fuel in order to create an explosion,” Clarke said. “So obviously we are aware of that but at this stage it’s far too soon to draw any conclusions.”
Details on the computer outlined exactly how such an attack would be carried out and estimated there would be “hundreds” of casualties. The project would have cost £60,000. “Since in much of the Western world it is not always possible/feasible to obtain real destructive ingredients, for example, common explosives, from the very beginning the project was based on being an improvised destructive device, hence the choice of gas,” the plan said. It said a study of gases had been carried out and that propane, acetylene, butane, and oxygen were the most effective.