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Passengers cleared of terror link

Two Yemeni men arrested amid fears they were conducting a dry run for an airline terror attack have been freed without charge after investigations turned up no evidence to link them to a terror plot.

The Dutch national prosecutor's office said that because of the lack of evidence "there is no reason to hold the men any longer".

Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al-Soofi and Hezam al-Murisi were arrested by airport police on Monday in Amsterdam on a United Airlines flight from Chicago following a request from US law enforcement officials.

The whereabouts of the two men following their release was not immediately known. Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said an initial test by US authorities on an item of luggage belonging to one of the men "showed the possible presence of a trace of explosives".

However "more accurate" later tests did not reveal any signs of explosive material, the prosecutors said.

"Investigations in the US and the Netherlands have shown that there is no longer any indication of any possible involvement of the men in any crime," the prosecution statement said.

Al-Soofi raised suspicions in the United States because he was carrying 7,000 US dollars in cash. An inspection of his checked luggage uncovered a cell phone taped to a small bottle, multiple cell phones and watches taped together, and a knife and box cutter, according to a US official who had been briefed on the investigation.

None of the checked items violated US security rules, so authorities allowed al-Soofi to fly. But his bags later were transferred to another flight and were not on the flight to Amsterdam, Dutch prosecutors said.

Al-Soofi and al-Murisi changed their travel plans at the last minute and took a direct flight to Amsterdam, raising suspicion among US officials.


From Belfast Telegraph