Last night a bomb which could have caused significant injury in the Haymarket section of London was defused outside a popular nightspot. Tiger Tiger is not far from 10 Downing Street. Welcome to Tony Blair’s world, Mr. Brown.

A bomb made from gas cylinders, petrol and nails was found in an abandoned car in central London today, sparking a major terrorism alert.
Peter Clarke, Scotland Yard head of counter-terrorism, said the device, discovered in Haymarket - one of the capital’s main nightlife districts - could have killed or injured many people.

“Even at this stage, it is obvious that, if the device had detonated, there could have been serious injury or loss of life,” he said. “It was busy, and many people were leaving nightclubs.”

Mr Clarke added that police had gathered CCTV evidence, but said it was too early to speculate about who could have been responsible.

The incident, near Piccadilly, began when an ambulance was called to a nightclub at around 1am to treat a person who had fallen ill. The ambulance crew noticed a Mercedes parked outside the club, and saw the vehicle appeared to have smoke inside it.

Mr Clarke said experts called to the scene found “significant quantities of petrol, together with a number of gas cylinders”. “I cannot tell you how much petrol was in the car as we have not had a chance to measure, it but there were several large containers,” he added.

Earlier, witnesses said they saw the light metallic green saloon car being driven erratically. It then crashed into bins before the driver ran away.

Police are searching landmark sites across London for further explosive devices, and are unsure whether the bomb was a lone device or one of several deployed across the capital. No warnings were received.

The car was loaded onto a lorry and taken away. Its most likely destination is the forensic explosives laboratory at Fort Halstead, in Kent, the site of a specialist facility known as the Igloo.

The security scare poses an early test for the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, and the new home secretary, Jacqui Smith, who earlier chaired a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency response committee.

Amid speculation that the bomb had been timed to coincide with the changeover of government, Mr Brown said the alert underlined the continuing threat to Britain.

“The first duty of the government is the security of the people, and as the police and security services have said on so many occasions, we face a serious and continuous threat to our country,” he said as he visited a school in north London.

“We should allow the police to investigate this incident and then report to us. But this incident does recall the need for us to be vigilant at all times and the public to be alert at any potential incidents. I will stress to the cabinet that the vigilance must be maintained over the next few days.”

In the summer of 2001 my daughters, niece, best friend and I were in London. One afternoon after shopping in Harrods one of my daughters discovered an abandoned package in a Harrods bag just outside the store. It had a nice handbag inside so we took it back into Harrods.

I thought about that a few years ago during the London transit bombings. Life in the summer of 2001 was a more innocent time and an abandoned package outside Harrods was just that. An abandoned package.

Not so much anymore.

Michelle Malkin has more.