Terror Attack on Glasgow Airport
Not since what was arguably the first international terror attack on this country – ineffectually carried out in 1894 on Greenwich Observatory by a French anarchist whose name translates as Warlike Pudding – has such a strike produced so much humour. Perhaps it was relief: had the L-reg Jeep driven at Glasgow International Airport ’s terminal by terrorists Bilal Abdullah and Kafeel Ahmed exploded, it could have slaughtered many innocent people. But it failed dismally, and Glasgow very much got the better of the clash.
The two would-be bombers had filled the vehicle with inflammable material including petrol cans and propane canisters; at 15.11 they drove it at the terminal, but solid security bollards stopped them. Either as they approached, or on impact, they set fire to the car, and flames carried to the building. They also set fire to themselves.
A policeman on the scene struggled with one of the terrorists. Glasgow, though, didn’t stand by. Several bystanders got stuck in; one, John Smeaton, gained brief fame for putting the boot in to the man; he was not alone, but what he said after the event struck a chord with the entire country: “Glasgow doesn't accept this. This is Glasgow; we'll set aboot ye.” Ahmed, a PhD student, died on August 2 from the 90 per cent burns he sustained that day. Abdullah is now serving a lengthy prison sentence for his crimes.
Behind the gallows-humour there was some shock, mainly because UK-born Bilal Abdullah was a medical doctor working in a local hospital. The depth of feeling involved to make a doctor turn to terror gave pause for thought.
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