CENTRAL London was brought to a standstill when a man took several hostages and threatened to blow himself up in a busy office block.
Thousands were evacuated, Tube stations were closed and streets locked down over a wide area of London's West End just three months before the start of the Olympics.
Snipers, bomb disposal squads, nuclear biological and chemical warfare specialists and dozens of armed police scrambled to an office block on Tottenham Court Road, one of the city's busiest shopping streets, on Friday.
As marksmen took up positions on rooftops, office workers were banished from their buildings while others were trapped as the man, armed with canisters strapped to his body, yelled that he would "blow everybody up". For three hours, as negotiators spoke with the man, named yesterday as 49-year-old Michael Green from Hemel Hempstead, office workers and children were held back behind police cordons. Police later confirmed Green did not have explosives on him. He was arrested and remains in police custody. A worker inside the building, Abby Baafi, 27, told how a man had arrived at the headquarters of an HGV training company shouting threats. "He said he doesn't care about his life, he doesn't care about anything he is going to blow up everybody."