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Terror suspect arrested at Amsterdam airport

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Suspect arrested on plane at Schiphol Airport
  • Officials say man was headed to Uganda
  • The man is being questioned, authorities say

(CNN) -- A terror suspect of Somali origin was arrested early Sunday at Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, officials said.

The man was flying to Uganda from Liverpool, England, via Amsterdam, said Evert Boerstra, spokesman for the public prosecutor's office. The suspect was arrested as the flight was readying for departure, he said.

The man, who was not identified, was being questioned about possible links to international terrorist organizations, Boerstra said.

The arrest took place in the airplane, said Rene Claessen of the Royal Dutch Marechaussee police at Schiphol.

Last month, two Yemeni men arrested as possible terror suspects at Schiphol airport were cleared of wrongdoing and freed after two days. The two Yemeni citizens were arrested while en route to the Yemeni capitol of Sanaa from Chicago, Illinois.

A U.S. law enforcement source said the men might have been trying to test U.S. airport security by putting bottles attached to electronic devices in their checked baggage. But two U.S. government officials said later the initial U.S. investigation showed no evidence of terrorism and no indication the two even knew each other.

On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the British-educated son of a Nigerian banker, was arrested after he allegedly tried to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan. He was detained when other passengers noticed his clothes burning from his attempt to set off the device. He is charged with offenses including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and willful attempt to destroy an aircraft.

In a pretrial hearing last week, AbdulMutallab announced he would no longer be represented by federal defenders and that he would represent himself. The judge appointed him standby counsel and asked him a series of questions about his knowledge of the law, the case and the charges he faces.

CNN's Bharati Naik contributed to this report.