Passengers on KLM flight linked to 9/11

18th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — The KLM flight refused entry to US airspace on 8 April was reportedly carrying two Saudi Arabian brothers with suspected links to the terror network of Osama bin Laden.

18 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — The KLM flight refused entry to US airspace on 8 April was reportedly carrying two Saudi Arabian brothers with suspected links to the terror network of Osama bin Laden.

One of the men allegedly had been in contact with Hani Hanjour, one of the hijackers involved in the 11 September terror attacks in the US, magazine 'Newsweek' reported. Hanjour was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

And it has been reported the two Saudi men may have had flight lessons with Hanjour at the Sawyer School of Aviation in Phoenix, Arizona.

The names of the Saudi men were on America's 'no-fly' list of terror suspects. KLM examines this list for flights to and from the US, but not for flights that only pass through US airspace.

KLM bowed to US pressure last week and agreed to check its no-fly list in future for the names of passengers on all flights that enter US airspace. KLM was threatened with a ban on entering US airspace if it had not met the demand.

For financial reasons, KLM agreed to the change in regulations despite the fact it has serious objections to the no-fly list, which is compiled without international supervision by the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) in Washington.

KLM also questioned where the authority had obtained the passenger details for the flight, but it later emerged that American authorities were given the information by Mexico.

The KLM plane was en route to Mexico City with 278 passengers and 15 horses and was above Canada when pilots were informed it had been refused entry to US airspace. The plane then returned to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner told Dutch MPs last week that the two suspects were questioned by military police at Schiphol. But he also said there was "no basis" to detain them further. MPs have since demanded a more detailed account of the incident.

After spending a night in an immigration cell upon their return to Amsterdam, the men were deported to Britain, where they were again questioned, before flying home to Saudi Arabia.  

The other 276 passengers of KLM flight 685 boarded another Mexico-bound plane on 9 April. They arrived in Mexico City on Sunday 10 April.

Citing anonymous sources, 'Newsweek' claims there was no definite indication of a risk that the plane was to be used in a terrorist attack. The two Saudi brothers only wanted to visit their father, who lives in Mexico.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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