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Police storm KLM airliner, arrest two

Latest update : 2008-09-27

German police officers stormed a KLM airliner at Cologne-Bonn airport, arresting two Somali-born men suspected of wanting to carry out attacks. Media reports said the two had left notes saying they were prepared to die in "holy war".

BERLIN - German police boarded a Dutch airliner at Cologne airport and arrested two men suspected of planning to take part in terrorist attacks, a spokesman said.

The police spokesman identified the suspected Islamist militants, on a KLM aircraft about to take off from Cologne airport for Amsterdam, as a 23-year-old Somali and a 24-year-old German born in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

"The police did not storm the plane," spokesman Frank Scheulen told Reuters television. "It all went off in quite an unspectacular manner."

No further details were immediately available from the police but Der Spiegel magazine website said police did not suspect the men were intending to hijack the plane.

"German police authorities removed two passengers from the plane. We don't know the exact details but all the passengers had to get out for a check of all the luggage, and they removed the suspects' luggage," said a spokesman for KLM.

The flight, KL1804, continued its journey to Amsterdam just over an hour later and has since landed in Amsterdam.

The arrests appear to be unrelated to a search for two suspected Islamist militants which the Federal Crime Office had announced on Thursday.

The Office had said they believed the two men, one German and one born in Lebanon, might be heading to Germany. They had previously thought they were in Afghanistan.

Date created : 2008-09-27