A section of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport was evacuated earlier on Tuesday, April 12, due to a bomb alert related to a man with suspicious behavior.
Heavily armed military police, in body armor and ski masks holding machine guns, arrested the man and patrolled the airport in a four-hour security clampdown. Explosives experts were called to check the man’s luggage, as well as the facility. Later that day, the airport was reopened.
While part of the airport was being guarded, a helicopter hovered overhead, until the alert was lifted at around 1:30 am, local time.
The suspicious man, who has not been identified, was arrested around 9:40 p.m., local time, and a bomb unit deployed a robot to check out his suspicious package. Nonetheless, the Dutch police said they were not able to find any dangerous substances in his luggage. It remained unclear exactly what had triggered the alarm.
“We got a call from someone at the airport saying there is a suspicious man. He was arrested,” Alfred Ellwanger, a police spokesman, said.
Schiphol airport is about 16 kilometers (10 miles) southwest of central Amsterdam, and it is one of Europe’s busiest travel hubs with about 50 million visitors passing through each year. Dutch authorities have improved surveillance at the airport due to previous attacks in other places in Europe.
The Netherlands has been on high alert since the deadly suicide bombing attacks on Brussels airport and subway last month in neighboring Belgium. Flights appeared to be unaffected and trains continued to arrive at the underground station, which links the huge travel hub to the rest of the country.
Ellwanger said that the man who was arrested remained in custody and under investigation.
The Schiphol Sheraton, hotel nearby the airport was also evacuated.
According to Lodewijk Hekking, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice and Security, another arrest was made at the Leiden Central rail station about 20-minutes away from the airport.
It remains unknown whether there is any connection between the two arrested people.
The incident occurred exactly three weeks after the March 22 attacks in Brussels that left 32 people dead and injured more than 340.
Source: The Wall Street Journal