Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with “preparation of a terrorist attack,” U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News.
A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor, Ernst Koelman, confirmed the two men were arrested this morning and said “the investigation is ongoing.” He said the arrests were made “at the request of American authorities.”
The two were allowed to board the flight at O’Hare airport last night despite security concerns surrounding one of them, the officials said.
The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, of Detroit, MI, and Hezem al Murisi, the officials said. A neighbor of al Soofi told ABC News he is from Yemen.
Airport security screeners in Birmingham, Alabama first stopped al Soofi and referred him to additional screening because of what officials said was his “bulky clothing.”
In addition, officials said, al Soofi was found to be carrying $7,000 in cash and a check of his luggage found a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three cell phones taped together, several watches taped together, a box cutter and three large knives. Officials said there was no indication of explosives and he and his luggage were cleared for the flight from Birmingham to Chicago O’Hare.
Soofi was apparently allowed to travel to Chicago, where he checked luggage on a flight bound for Washington-Dulles and eventually Yemen. But instead of boarding that flight, Soofi joined Al Musiri on the United flight from O’Hare to Amsterdam.
On learning this, Customs and Border called the Dulles flight back to the gate and removed Soofi’s luggage. No explosives were found.