October 21, 2014
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Dutch police arrest teen over threatening tweet to American Airlines

ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS (BNO NEWS) — A Dutch teenager was arrested in Rotterdam on Monday afternoon after she tweeted a terrorist threat at American Airlines that quickly went viral online, police officials said. It was not immediately known what charges she could face.

The tweet, sent out on Sunday afternoon, was picked up by Dutch police as part of their regular investigation into threatening messages on the social networking website Twitter. It was not on the request of American Airlines or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States, a police spokeswoman said.

During the course of the investigation, the person behind the Twitter account was identified as a 14-year-old girl from Rotterdam, after which she went to a police station and was taken into custody for making a “false report.” It was not immediately clear if the girl would face criminal charges.

In the tweet, which quickly went viral, the girl claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda and said she would do “something really big” in June, though she quickly said it was a joke when American Airlines responded. The American airline lost two of its aircraft on September 11, 2001, when 19 al-Qaeda terrorists carried out an unprecedented attack on the United States, killing nearly 3,000 people.

“Hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye,” the girl, identifying herself only as Sarah, said in Sunday’s tweet. Soon after, American Airlines responded in their own tweet: “Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.”

“omfg I was kidding. … I’m so sorry I’m scared now … I was joking and it was my friend not me, take her IP address not mine. … I was kidding pls don’t I’m just a girl pls … and I’m not from Afghanistan,” the girl said in subsequent tweets, later adding: “I’m just a fangirl pls I don’t have evil thoughts and plus I’m a white girl.”

It is not the first time Dutch police have arrested someone for making threats on Twitter. A 17-year-old boy was arrested in Rotterdam in April 2011 after threatening to carry out a mass shooting, saying he was going to “outdo” a gunman who had shot dead six people at a shopping mall hours earlier. Dutch police also arrested a 17-year-old girl in February 2011 after she tweeted she was planning to bomb her school.

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