Yemenis on US Flight Detained on Terrorism Fears

By Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
August 31, 2010 Updated: August 31, 2010

[xtypo_dropcap]T[/xtypo_dropcap]wo Yemeni men were arrested in Amsterdam after landing on a flight from Chicago on Tuesday, over “suspicious” items found in their luggage by airport officials.

A mobile phone taped to a medicine bottle, as well as knives and a large quantity of cash, were found in the men's luggage. The items, which according to U.S. officials themselves didn't pose a direct risk, might have been used in a dry-run for a potential terrorist attack.

"The arrest took place based on information provided by U.S. authorities,” said Dutch Public Prosecutor Theo D'Anjou at a news conference Tuesday.

The men were stopped while passing through Chicago O’Hare airport, but were allowed to continue on their flight–which was originally scheduled to stop at Washington Dulles and Dubai before landing in the Yemen capital of Sanaa.

However, the men drew suspicion after they changed their itinerary to a direct flight to Amsterdam.

"We're going to do a vigorous investigation to see if we can match up any of the circumstances that were involved with any intelligence that we might have," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN.

Klaas-Arjen krikke, lawyer of one of the suspects, told Dutch news agency ANP that his client "doesn't understand [what happened] at all and denies that he has ever had anything to do with terrorism."

The men can be held for six days without charge under Dutch law.