The UK men who were detained in Germany on suspicion of a terrorist activity has been released by German authorities, stating “We now believe that there was never any real danger.” A local police spokesman said, “The criminal investigation against them had been halted. No evidence was found,”
Bild newspaper said that the three men who were aged 31, 38 and 48, worked for a London company and were returning to London after a business trip.
The German federal police said that the pilot diverted the flight EZY3246 from Ljubljana to Cologne late on Saturday, after fellow passengers reported they were discussing “terrorist matters” and carried a book entitled “Kill” with a sniper rifle on its cover. Bild said, passengers told airline personnel they had heard the men using words including “bomb” and “explosive”, and said one carried a suspicious backpack.
The backpack that belonged to the 48-year old was examined and destroyed in a controlled explosion by authorities after officials found potentially suspicious cables inside after the plane landed, the police spokesman said. But nothing dangerous was found to have been contained in the bag or on board the aircraft.
Police had carried out security checks on the aircraft and questioned passengers after all 151 on board were safely evacuated from the easyJet Airbus 319 using emergency slides.
The incident has forced the diversion of 17 inbound flights, delays in 20 departing flights and cancellation of two flights, a spokeswoman for Cologne airport said, adding that air traffic had returned to normal after a three-hour interruption.