The two men, identified by Dutch authorities as Ahmad Mohamed Nasser al-Soofi, 48, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Hezem al-Murisi, 37, of Memphis, missed their flight on Sunday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after the gate was changed, the officials said. Some of their baggage had already been loaded on the flight they missed, including some unusual taped-together items that had attracted attention from airport screeners earlier.
“You go into these situations with an open mind, but the facts never really supported a suspicion of terrorism,” said one law enforcement official, speaking of the continuing investigation on condition of anonymity. He said news accounts of the detentions, set off by an initial report by ABC News on Monday night, had made a sensation of what was really routine checking by counterterrorism investigators.
The American officials spoke as Dutch prosecutors said the two men, both Yemeni citizens, remained in custody “on suspicion of a conspiracy to a terrorist criminal act.” Prosecutorssaid it might be several days before a decision is made to charge or release them.
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