Report: US officials downplay Netherlands Arab duo's threat
US officials warned late Tuesday against jumping to conclusions about possible terrorist connections of two Arab travellers detained in the Netherlands at the behest of the United States, dpa reported.
"In this instance, sound judgement led to suspicious items being identified, which triggered automatic security responses by US security personnel," the Homeland Security Department was quoted as saying in a statement by CNN.
Dutch police on Tuesday questioned two Arabs detained on landing in Amsterdam after a warning by US officials that the men might have been rehearsing a terrorist attack.
Presumed to be Yemeni nationals, the men were initially suspected of carrying a mock bomb in their checked baggage on board earlier domestic flights in the US.
The two had arrived late Monday at Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport on a flight from Chicago. The Dutch public prosecutor confirmed the men, identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al- Soofi and Hezem al-Murisi, were arrested "at the request of American authorities."
CNN cited two unidentified government officials as saying that further US investigation has yet to find either evidence of terrorist links or indications the men even knew each other.
Officials were investigating whether the duo may have been testing security measures in preparation for possible terrorist attacks. Among the men's luggage were several mobile phones taped together, which had the appearance of a fake bomb, as well as knives and a box cutter.
A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution said earlier Tuesday that it was yet to be determined whether the detainees would be charged with any terrorism-related offence.