Dutch arrest British terrorism suspect at Schiphol

The military police arrested the man in an aircraft that was ready to depart.

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2010, 12:47 PM IST

Amsterdam: Dutch military police arrested a British man of Somali descent at Amsterdam`s Schiphol Airport on Sunday morning on suspicion of links to terrorism, the Dutch public prosecutor said.

The prosecutor said in a statement that police were investigating whether the man, who flew through Schiphol on his way from Liverpool in northern England to Entebbe in Uganda, had connections to a foreign militant organisation.

The military police arrested the man in an aircraft that was ready to depart, the prosecutor said.

Dutch authorities said the arrest was made on the basis of a tip from British authorities, but there was no immediate comment from London`s Metropolitan Police, which handles terror issues, Liverpool`s Merseyside Police or the British Home Office.

"We are just investigating his possible involvement in a terrorist organisation. There was no explosive material found in his luggage," a Dutch police spokesman said.

The arrest marks the third terror scare in less than a year at Schiphol, Europe`s fifth-largest passenger airport.

Last Christmas Day, a Nigerian man allegedly attempted to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with an explosive device hidden in his underwear. He was thought to have brought the explosives through Amsterdam from Nigeria.

Late last month, two Yemeni men who had flown from Chicago were arrested at Schiphol after US authorities found suspicious items in their luggage. They were later released without charges.

Schiphol Group, the airport`s operator, has dramatically stepped up security this year in response to the Christmas incident, adding full-body scanners among other measures.

The British man was being questioned and police said they hoped to be able to release more information on Monday.

A review of Schiphol`s flight schedule for Sunday showed one outbound flight to Entebbe, an apparent codeshare between Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM. KLM and Schiphol spokespeople referred all calls to the police, who would not confirm the airline the arrested man was travelling on.

Dutch counter-terrorism authorities said they were aware of the arrest but had no further information.

Bureau Report