12 arrested after India-bound flight escorted back to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Two F-16 fighter jets escorted the plane back to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

Police in the Netherlands have arrested twelve passengers after a US flight destined for Mumbai in India was escorted back to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. No further information about the arrests has been given.

The plane, which had 149 passengers on board, was accompanied by two F-16 fighter jets on its way back to the airport after the security alert today.

According to the Dutch Defence Ministry, the plane's pilot made the decision to land the aircraft after several passengers mustered suspicion. "A number of them behaved, in the opinion of the crew, in a suspicious manner," said a Defense Ministry statement. "As a result, the captain asked to return to Schiphol. The customs police have taken a number of people off the plane for questioning."

An airport spokesman said that the plane's pilot decided to reroute while in German airspace.

Earlier today, a spokeswoman said that several passengers were taken off the Northwest Airlines aircraft and have been detained for questioning. AP quotes Mirjam Snoerwang as saying: "A number of suspects were taken off the plane - I don't know how many. They're undergoing questioning now."

The National Terrorism Coordinator has said that there is no reason to raise the terror alert level in the Netherlands. Spokeswoman Judith Sluiter said: "It is the same as it was before - light threat."

Since August 10, when police in the UK claimed they had foiled a suspected plot to blow up several transatlantic planes, security has been stepped up worldwide.