Police snatched two terrorist suspects just before their plane took off from a German airport today.
They acted after finding a suicide note that claimed the men wanted to die in a terror attack.
The 23-year-old Somali and a 24-year-old German born in Somalia were arrested without incident at Cologne airport after officers entered the plane which was bound for Amsterdam.
A spokeswoman said they were not suspected of planning to hijack the flight but would not say whether they were armed.
Police had a suicide note reportedly written by the men that stated they wanted to take part in “jihad” – or holy war – and die in a terrorist attack.
Reports said the two had been under observation for months.
Police boarded the Fokker 50 jet when it was at its “point of departure” and grabbed the two suspects, a spokeswoman for the airline KLM said, adding that the 46 remaining passengers were then told to leave the plane.
“A 'baggage parade' took place to see if the two passengers who were taken by the police had bags with them,” she said.
The plane took off after an hour’s delay and landed at Schipohl airport in the Netherlands without further incident.
Holland’s anti-terror chief warned earlier this month that the country remained one of the top targets for Islamic terrorist groups because of publicity surrounding an MPs’ anti-Islam film.
The National Coordinator for Combating Terrorism said in a report the film “Fitna” by Geert Wilders made the Netherlands a “preferred target” for Islamic groups.
“Fitna” set Koran texts against a background of violent images, which the agency said was “considered a major insult and provocation” by terrorist groups.
The country’s terrorist threat has been rated as “substantial” since the film’s launch in March.
Federal prosecutors in Germany said the arrests were not linked to an earlier announcement that two men with terrorist connections could be on their way back to Germany.
Yesterday prosecutors said Eric Breininger (aged 21) and Houssain Al Malla, 23 could be headed to Germany after leaving a terrorist training camp in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The men are believed linked to the group involved in a foiled plot to attack American targets in Germany in 2007.
Despite the warning and the incident in Cologne, the Interior Ministry said the threat level in Germany had not changed.
Germany is still in the “crosshairs of terrorism” but there are no indications that specific attacks are planned, it said.