The Somali man arrested Sunday after the Mexico City-bound Aeromexico plane he was on was diverted to Montreal is not linked to a Homeland Security terrorism warning on the US-Mexico border, Newsweek reports.
NBC had reported Monday that Abdirahman Ali Gaal, who has resident status in the U.S., was the subject of a recent Homeland Security warning to Houston authorities to look out for a member of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. Gaal was arrested by Canadian police Sunday after the U.S. reportedly blocked the Aeromexico flight, which took off from Paris, from entering U.S. airspace. He was reportedly on a no-fly list.
Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball reports that unnamed counterterrorism officials do not challenge NBC’s assertion that Gaal may be a member of al-Shabaab — only that he is linked to the border warning:
Both officials say that contrary to NBC’s report, they believe there’s no connection between the man taken off the plane in Montreal and a Homeland Security bulletin first mentioned last week by Fox News, advising law-enforcement officials in Texas to be on the lookout for a suspected member of Al-Shabab trying to cross into the United States from Mexico. … The name of the suspected Shabab member in the Homeland Security bulletin is not the same as that of the Aeroméxico suspect, according to the two officials, who say they think the Somalis in question are two different people.
In another development, Canada’s National Post is reporting that authorities there handed over Gaal to U.S. authorities at the border in New York. The Post says he is now being questioned by Homeland Security.