Saturday, July 09, 2005

Thousands Evacuated in Birmingham, UK

From Reuters:
LONDON (Reuters) - Police said on Saturday they were evacuating thousands of people from the centre of Birmingham after receiving a threat warning.

"West Midlands police...are now closing down the Broad Street entertainment zone and asking people to leave Birmingham town centre and go home," said a police spokesman in the country's second biggest city.

"Our inquiries are ongoing. We're not going into the nature of the threat."
Update: The Guardian notes that Birmingham was the site of "one of the worst Irish Republican Army bombings of the 1970s." Yeah, right, it's the IRA.

Update II: From Sky News:
Bomb squad officers have reportedly carried out a series of controlled explosions in the Broad Street entertainment district.

West Midlands Police said no vehicles are being allowed past the inner ring road.

Around 200 bars, restaurants and clubs are being emptied and searched

A spokeswoman said: "West Midlands Police are issuing a public warning to people after they received intelligence to suggest a threat to the city centre.
No word yet on whether or not the controlled explosions triggered any sympathetic blasts.

Update II (7-10): Latest reports are describing one controlled detonation of a suspicious device that was not an explosive.