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Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 14:15 UK

Terror suspects held on KLM plane

KLM logo is seen at Cologne-Bonn airport, western Germany
The KLM passenger carrier was destined for Amsterdam

Police in Germany have arrested two terrorism suspects on a plane preparing to take off from Cologne-Bonn airport.

The two men, both in their early 20s and of Somali origin, were under surveillance for months, police say.

They were said to be "possibly planning attacks" and had left suicide notes at their flats expressing their wish to die in a "holy war".

The KLM airliner, which was bound for Amsterdam, was eventually allowed to take off after a luggage search.

Police boarded flight KL1804 at 0655 (0455 GMT), police spokesman Frank Scheulen said.

"The police did not storm the plane - it was done by ordinary police, special forces were not used," he added, contradicting earlier reports by KLM staff that commandos had made the arrests.

He said the suspects - a 23-year-old Somali and a 24-year-old Somali-born German citizen - were "under suspicion of participating in a jihad [holy war] action and of possibly planning attacks".

The remaining passengers were ordered off the aircraft for a baggage inspection.

The plane was cleared for departure just over an hour later and has since landed in Amsterdam.

Germany's federal crime office said on Thursday it was hunting for two Islamic militants believed to be on their way to Germany.

The arrests in Cologne are thought to be unconnected with that terror alert.


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