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CIA knew 9/11 hijacker's flight training plans: Report

August 21, 2003 01:22 IST

The United States had let in one of the September 11 hijackers in mid-2000 for flight lessons despite suspicions of his links to Al Qaeda, German magazine Stern said.

Citing from a confidential FBI report, the magazine said that Ziad Jarrah was questioned for four hours during a January 2000 stopover in the United Arab Emirates.

It transpired later during 9/11 investigations that Jarrah, at that time, was returning from training at an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan to his then home in Hamburg, northern Germany.

Jarrah told the UAE officials of his Afghanistan stint and of his plans to take flight-training lessons in Florida, said Stern.

The officials had passed the information to the Central Intelligence Agency. But four months later, Jarrah was allowed into the US after receiving a visa.

More than 3,000 people were killed when hijackers slammed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.

Jarrah is understood to have piloted a fourth plane, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers fought back.

The Lebanese national was part of a Hamburg-based Al Qaeda cell led by the hijackers' alleged ringleader Mohammed Atta.

Last week, Stern reported that German intelligence had warned the CIA about another Hamburg cell member, Marwan al-Shehhi, in March 1999.

Al-Shehhi and Atta piloted the two planes that crashed in New York.


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