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Organizers of the September 11, 2001 attacks
Many individuals were directly responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks. According to nearly all reputable sources, including the 9/11 Commission Report, the attack was planned and carried out by al-Qaida operatives. This article describes those operatives.
It can be argued that others were indirectly responsible for the attacks, by implementing lax security or by turning a blind eye to possible threats, but that is outside the scope of this article. In addition, there exist other less accepted theories regarding culpability for the attacks. These are described in the articles 9/11 domestic conspiracy theory and Misinformation and rumors about the September 11, 2001 attacks.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, 26 al-Qaida terrorist conspirators sought to enter the United States to carry out a suicide mission. In the end, there were 19 hijackers in all: five on three of the flights, and four on the fourth. Soon after the attacks, the FBI identified all nineteen, though at least eight of the names on the FBI's list have been called into doubt; see links by name.
U.S. authorities believe that the hijackers were in two groups: six core organizers, who included the four pilots and two others; and the remaining thirteen who entered the United States later in pairs in the spring and summer of 2001 via the United Arab Emirates.
Some of the terrorists did not seem to match the profiles of past suicide terrorists as young, poor, and uneducated. However the "muscle" hijackers, as opposed to the pilots, were between 20 and 28 years old and most were unmarried and without familial attachments. Fifteen came from Saudi Arabia. The remaining four came from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. According to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, this distribution reflects the proportions of trainees at al-Qaida camps and the relative ease of obtaining U.S. visas for Saudi citizens. (See: Visa Express.)
There are persistent rumors some of the hijackers may have travelled under false passports or been misidentified, but this has not been proven. The 9/11 Commission looked into this possibility and rejected it. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, many of the hijackers were photographed at the airport by security cameras. None of these photographs have been released by U.S. authorities at this time, but they were examined by the 9/11 Commission. One airport photograph of two of the hijackers was released, but it was taken at a different airport, boarding a non-hijacked flight.
List of the hijackers
- Note: There have been variations in the spelling of the names of the alleged hijackers in differing accounts of the attacks. This is because there is no one correct way of transliterating from the Arabic alphabet to the Latin alphabet.
The hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 were reported to be:
- Mohammed Atta is believed to have flown Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Aboard United Airlines Flight 175 the hijackers were reported to be:
- Marwan al-Shehhi is believed to have flown Flight 175 into the South Tower.
The hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 77 were reported to be:
- Hani Hanjour is believed to have flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
The hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were reported to be:
- Ziad Jarrah is believed to have crashed Flight 93 into the Pennsylvania countryside to prevent or end an assault by the passengers.
Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Saeed al-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, and Ahmad al-Haznawi came from three neighboring towns and belonged to the same tribe. Wail and Waleed al-Shehri were brothers. Salem al-Hazmi was a younger brother of Nawaf al-Hazmi.
The Hamburg cell and other conspirators
The terrorist attack itself was planned by Khalid Sheik Mohammed and approved by Osama bin Laden; the two of them personally chose the hijackers. Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah became the organizers of the plot. Investigators say that Mohammed Haydar Zammar acted as the "travel agent" to Afghanistan.
Three of the hijackers, along with Ramzi Binalshibh, Said Bahaji, and Zakariyah Essabar were members of the Hamburg cell. After Atta, al-Shehhi, and Jarrah left for the United States, Binalshibh provided money to the conspirators. Riduan Isamuddin, aka Hambali, met with two of the hijackers in Kuala Lumpur in 2000. Hambali also gave money to alleged 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui. The members of the cell fled Germany before the terrorist attacks.
Some of the money that financed the terrorist attack seems to have originated from Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mohammed Yousef Mohamed Alqusaidi , who may be Marwan al-Shehhi's brother. Another conspirator is Abu Abdul Rahman . Tawfiq bin Attash, also known as Khallad, assisted the hijackers in many ways, and unsuccessfully sought a visa to enter the United States and participate in the attacks.
Interviews with detained al Qaida members have identified ten hijacker candidates who did not participate in the attacks for various reasons. This people were identified as Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani, Khalid Saeed Ahmad al Zahrani, Ali Abd al Rahman al Faqasi al Ghamdi, Saeed al Baluchi, Qutaybah al Najdi, Zuhair al Thubaiti, Saeed Abdullah Saeed al Ghamdi, Saud al Rashid, and Mushabib al Hamlan, and Abderraouf Jdey.
- "War on Terrorism"
- U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
- 20th hijacker
- 2001 anthrax attack
- U.S. Department of Defense
- Operation Bojinka
- collective trauma
- The Final 9/11 Commission Report
- Search the 9/11 Commission Report indexed by individual paragraphs, with clustered search results
- Network Map of how hijackers were connected to each other and color-coded by their flight.
- A Terrorist Profile Emerges That Confounds the Experts The New York Times 15-September-2001
- F.B.I. Documents Detail the Movements of 19 Men Believed to Be Hijackers The New York Times 15-September-2001 To be incorporated
- FLIGHT SCHOOL: Learning Where Suspects Studied Is 'Trickier Than It Sounds' The New York Times 15-September-2001 To be incorporated
- The Immigration and Naturalization Service's Contacts With Two September 11 Terrorists: A Review of the INS's Admissions of Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, its Processing of their Change of Status Applications, and its Efforts to Track Foreign Students in the United States U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General 20-May-2002 To be incorporated
- portal.telegraph.co.uk (UK report that not all of the "hijackers" were actually on the planes)
- Independent reporting of alleged hijacker claims with additional links
- Saudis Say Cash to Friend of Hijackers Was Charity, The New York Times, November 24, 2002 to be incorporated
- Evidence against the theories that some of the named hijackers are still alive.
- Saudis Arabia Admit Hijackers of Sept. 11 Attacks were Citizens
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