Via the AP:
LONDON — Police defused an explosive device found in a parked car in central London on Friday, and the new government called an emergency meeting of senior security chiefs to investigate what many feared could have been a planned terror attack.
Police said the car — parked near busy Piccadilly Circus — contained a “potentially viable explosive device” but would not give further details.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who took office on Wednesday, said the incident was a reminder that Britain faces “a serious and continuous threat” and the “need to be alert.”
“I will stress to the Cabinet that the vigilance must be maintained over the next few days,” Brown said.
The incident comes a week before the second anniversary of the July 7 London bombings, when four British Muslim homicide bombers killed themselves and 52 bus and subway passengers.
For more than a year, the government has held the country’s terrorist threat level at severe — which means a terrorist attack is highly likely.
Officers were called to The Haymarket shortly before 2 a.m., a police statement said.
The Haymarket is the site of restaurants, bars, a cinema complex and, most famously, theaters. On a Thursday night, the area would have been buzzing with crowds of people. The broad street links Piccadilly Circus in the north to the Pall Mall at its southern end.
Sky News broadcast a photograph of the vehicle taken early in the morning, showing a green canister beside the car and the backseat door open with blankets spilling out.
The station cited witnesses as saying doormen from a nearby nightclub had reported that someone had crashed a Mercedes sedan into garbage bins and ran away.
Pajamas Media has more, including reports that police are now searching landmark sites in London for other explosive devices. Stay tuned …
Update I: There are tons more links on this developing story at Memeorandum.
And as ST reader Leslie says in the comments, the Brit authorities are to be commended on a job well done – again.
Police in London are also checking into another report of a suspicious vehicle in central London.
Update II: The latest from MSNBC/AP: U.K. report: Police believe foiled car bomb was to be set off by cell phone
Update III: Via SkyNews: Two Bombs Were Set To Blow In London