Suspected Terrorist Plotter’s Flight Originated in Birmingham

Terror Suspect Originates in Birmingham
al Soofi, on the left, al Marisi, and the suspicious luggage. Courtesy ABC News

Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, a Detroit native and one of two men suspected of planning a terrorist attack, began his trip to Amsterdam in Birmingham.  Birmingham TSA subjected al Soofi to additional screening due to “bulky clothing” that he was apparently wearing.  He was allowed to continue on his flight despite that his checked baggage contained watches taped together, a Pepto-Bismal bottle taped to a cell phone, and over $7,000 in cash.  Some sources are also reporting that his checked luggage contained a box cutter and multiple large knives.  However, the photo above does not support that claim, and officials are saying much of what is being reported is based in rumor.

Once in Chicago, al Soofi checked his luggage to a flight destined for Yemen (through Dubai) while he met the second suspect, Hezem al Murisi, and the two boarded a flight for Amsterdam together.  Officials stopped the plane with the luggage before takeoff after realizing al Soofi did not board the plane, and arrested both men when they landed in Amsterdam.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that the scare, “was almost certainly a dry run.”  Neither man has officially been charged with anything, as no items found were actually illegal.  Apparently, police are also backing off any connection between the two men, focusing the investigation on al Soofi alone.  So why was the second man arrested?

I guess we can give kudos to BHM for putting the alert on al Soofi.  Would the luggage have been caught being on a separate flight if Birmingham TSA hadn’t triggered it?  International flights are required to have a 100% baggage match, but who knows?  Well done, Birmingham security.  I’ll try to remember I said that as I get impatient next time I fly.

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