Dutch Police Hold Two Yemenis On Suspicion Of Plotting Terrorism

Two men of Yemeni origin who flew from Chicago to Amsterdam yesterday were being held by Dutch police today on suspicion of plotting terrorism. Dutch investigators said: "The men are held in custody on suspicion of a conspiracy to a terrorist criminal act. In a few days it will be made public if they will be charged." They can be held for six days without charge. The two men, named by US authorities as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al-Soofi and Hezam al-Murisi, took a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Amsterdam on Monday despite being booked on a different itinerary from Chicago, to Dubai via Washington. Their luggage, however, went not on the Amsterdam flight but to Washington, raising questions about US airport and flight security in the anxious run-up to the 9/11 anniversary. Worried US officials scrambled to retrieve the suspect luggage, said to belong to Soofi, which had already been transported on a domestic US flight from Chicago to Dulles airport in Washington. It was found to contain a mobile phone taped to a bottle of medicine, several other mobiles taped together and several watches similarly parcelled together. There was also a knife and a Stanley knife. There were no explosives. The Americans contacted the Dutch authorities and requested the arrests, speculating that the two men may have been conducting a "dummy run", testing US and European airport security. There was nothing illegal in the luggage and Soofi had already told US security that he was carrying $7,000(£4,500) in cash. Both men were destined for Dubai, apparently en route to their home country of Yemen, which US intelligence regards as an al-Qaida stronghold. "The arrest[s] took place on the basis of information provided by the US authorities. The two men have Yemen nationality. They were supposed to be travelling on to Sana'a in Yemen," said a Dutch police statement. Despite being held by the Dutch, it appeared that there were scant grounds for prosecution. In the US, government officials said