Aviation News

September 20, 2010

Dutch Police Arrest British Terror Suspect at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport


KLM Airbus A330 (Photo by Phil Derner, Jr.)

Dutch police on Sunday morning arrested a British terror suspect aboard a Uganda-bound passenger plane at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, prosecutors said.

The British citizen, who is of Somali ancestry, was arrested during a layover at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. He had initially boarded an aircraft at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in England with a final destination for Entebbe International Airport in Uganda.

Evert Boerstra, a spokesman for the country’s prosecutor’s office, said the passenger was arrested based on information received from British authorities. Officers from the Royal Marechaussee took him into custody aboard an Airbus A330-200, KLM flight 561, shortly before take-off at 11 a.m. local time.

Authorities declined to provide a lot of information about the case, including the name of the suspect. “At this moment the man’s possible involvement with a foreign terrorist organization is being investigated,” the country’s prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Dutch state broadcaster NOS News reported that the suspect was believed to have ties with Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgent group that seeks to control Somalia and impose a harsh form of Sharia law. The broadcaster did not reveal a source for its report.

Sunday’s incident was the second terror alert at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in less than a month. On August 30, two men from Detroit were arrested aboard a United Airlines aircraft at Schiphol on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack.

The two men raised concerns after their luggage was checked in on another aircraft in the United States, while the men boarded a flight to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. They were then expected to continue their journey to Yemen, the same destination as their luggage that contained suspicious items.

Dutch authorities later concluded that the men were not planning a terrorist attack and released them on September 1st without charges.

And on Christmas Day last year, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport also received extensive international news coverage after 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate explosives on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The aircraft had departed Schiphol hours earlier and was bound for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.