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Saeed al-Ghamdi (Arabic: سعيد الغامدي, also transliterated Alghamdi, and many different variations on his name have been used) was named by the FBI as one of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 as part of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack.
Al-Ghamdi was from the al Bahah province of Saudi Arabia, an isolated and underdeveloped area, and shared the same tribal affiliation with fellow hijackers Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, and Ahmed al-Haznawi. This group is noted as being some of the more religiously observant of the hijackers. Al-Ghamdi is said to have come from a town called Abha . He did not have a college degree. He may have been in contact with other future hijackers as early as 1999. Al Ghamdi spent time in al Qasim province, Saudi Arabia where he transferred to college but soon dropped out and ceased contact with his family. While there, he probably associated with the radical Saudi cleric named Sulayman al Alwan as several other future hijackers did.
Al-Ghamdi headed to Chechnya to participate in the conflict against the Russians. At this time, Chechen fighters were turning away additional foreigners, many of whom ended up in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan to train and await entry to Chechnya. While in Afghanistan a number decided to join al Qaida suicide corps. Saeed al-Ghamdi was known to Tawfiq bin Attash who personally convinced him to become a martyr. Al-Ghamdi was at that time working as security at Khandahar airport with a number of future hijackers and may have helped recruit them.
In March of 2001, al-Ghamdi was filmed in a farewell video that was aired on al-Jazeera. In the video, many future 9/11 hijackers swear to become martyrs, although no details of the plot are revealed. Al-Ghamdi referred to America as "the enemy", and is seen studying maps and flight manuals.
In the U.S.
He arrived in the USA in June 2001 through a controversial immigration procedure called Visa Express. Other hijackers with suspect identities used this same means to enter the US. He was nearly turned away at the border. CNN reported:
- Saeed al-Ghamdi was referred to immigration inspection officials in June 2001 after he provided no address on his customs form and only had a one-way plane ticket and about $500. But al Ghamdi was able to persuade the inspector that he was a tourist.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Ghamdi boarded United Airlines Flight 93 without incident. Due to the flight's delay, the pilot and crew were notified of the previous hijackings that day, and were told to be on the alert. Within minutes, Flight 93 was hijacked as well.
Passengers on the plane heard through phone calls the fates of the other hijacked planes. They realized they had to take the cockpit back from the terrorists or their plane too would be used as a missile. A passenger uprising foiled the terrorist's plans, but failed to save the plane. The hijackers crashed the plane into the Pennsylvania farmland rather than cede control of the plane. All aboard died.
Possible mistaken identity
On 23 September 2001, the BBC reported that a person named Saeed al-Ghamdi was alive and well. His name, birth date, origin, and occupation were the same as those released by the FBI, but his picture was different. He says that he studied flight training in Florida flight schools from 1998 to 2001.
According to immigration records in the Philippines, someone named Saeed al-Ghamdi visited that country on at least 15 occasions in 2001, entering as a tourist. The last visit ended on August 6. This may have been a different person with the same name, as no other information is available.
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