Dutch police arrest men on US flight, alleging ‘preparation of a terrorist attack’
Dutch police have charged two men taken off a flight from the United States with “preparation of a terrorist attack,” ABC News reported Monday, citing US and Dutch law enforcement officials.
A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor told the news network that the men were arrested “at the request of American authorities,” adding that “the investigation is ongoing.”
ABC News identified the men as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al-Soofi and Hezam al-Murisi, and said Soofi was from Yemen, citing one of the man’s neighbors.
The men were apparently allowed to board a United Airlines flight from Chicago, Illinois to Amsterdam despite a slew of security concerns, beginning in Birmingham, Alabama, where Soofi appears to have started his journey.
Airport screeners there reportedly stopped him because of his “bulky clothing.” They uncovered he was carrying 7,000 dollars in cash, and then opened his luggage, ABC News said.
There they found a cellphone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three cellphones taped together and several watches taped together, but because no explosives were discovered, he was cleared for the flight to Chicago.
Once at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, he appears to have checked his luggage on a flight bound for Yemen, with scheduled stops in both Washington’s Dulles airport and Dubai. But he did not board the flight.
Instead, he was joined by Murisi, ABC said, and the pair boarded a flight to Amsterdam.
The flight carrying Soofi’s luggage reportedly travelled to Washington’s Dulles airport, from where it was about to depart to Dubai and then on to Yemen when officials learned his bags were on board but he was not.
The plane was ordered to return to the gate, where the baggage was removed, though officials said no explosives were detected.
Soofi and Murisi were detained when their flight arrived in Amsterdam.