The terrorist attack on the USA 9/11/2001

Autor: Radim Kapavík / kapa 🕔︎︎ 👁︎ 88.924


On January 6, 1995, around 11 a.m., the occupants of one of the Manila houses noticed a strange odor and a subsequent fire in one of the apartments. When investigating police entered the apartment from which the residents disappeared after the firefighters arrived in the afternoon, they found a map with the route of a papamobile ride ( Pope John Paul II planned to arrive in the Philippine metropolis on January 12 ), priestly garments, crosses, the Bible, many chemicals, strange tools and 12 fake passports. A list of eleven flights between East Asia and the United States and an unwritten text were found in the password-protected files left on the laptop: " Everyone who supports the United States government is the target in our future plans, because these people are responsible for their government's activities and support American foreign policy and they are satisfied with it. We will hit all American nuclear targets. If the US government continues to support Israel, we will continue to conduct operations outside and inside the United States to ... ". Although it sounds like a spy novel, it is bare facts. The file with the list of flights between East Asia and the USA was called Bojinka and gave this terrorist plan its name - Operation Bojinka.

Philippine police suspected the residents of the apartment in connection with a series of bombings in Manila a short time ago, and according to the Philippine government, the fire in the apartment actually caused the apartment to get out ( according to the original version, the fire was caused by careless handling of explosives ) . She succeeded in the plan, and it also fell into the hands of Abdul Hakim Murad, who returned to the apartment after the fire for compromising materials. He was interrogated by the Philippine police for 67 days without speaking - what the Philippine police call a " tactical interrogation" is actually torture. In the end, he allegedly managed to get him to confess by being told that he would be handed over to the Israelis.

Bojinka's entire grand plan looked like this:


On January 15, John Paul II was to be assassinated by a suicide bomber disguised as a priest as he drove through his papamobile to a seminary in the city of Makati. Around 20 terrorists were prepared for this task. However, the assassination of the pope was to be just the beginning - on 21 and 22 January. In 1995, terrorists, at least 5 of whom belonged to al-Qaeda, were to travel sequentially with eleven U.S. airlines flying routes starting in Southeast Asia, making one stopover in another part of SE Asia, and then flying to the United States. In each of them, the terrorists were to leave an explosive in a life jacket above the seat, which would explode on its way across the ocean to the United States. During the stopover, all terrorists had to leave the planes and then fly to Pakistan. The explosive was nitroglycerin undetectable by the device - 11.12. In 1994, one of the terrorist leaders passed a test when he smuggled an explosive in a boot aboard a Philipines Airlines 434 flying to Tokyo, left the plane at a stopover, and a bomb exploded in Japan four hours later, killing one Japanese passenger and injuring 10 others. The plane took off undamaged and successfully made an emergency landing on Okinawa. The terrorists drew the appropriate conclusions from this test regarding the required force of the explosive.

If the plan succeeded, 11 aircraft would explode at almost the same time over the sea. About 4,000 people would lose their lives and air travel would probably be canceled worldwide for at least a few days. However, this was not the end either - in the second phase, Murad would crash into a CIA headquarters in Langley in a hired or purchased small plane filled with explosives. An alternative idea was to use a commercial aircraft full of passengers for this purpose ...

Other architects of the plan were soon arrested and later sentenced to life in prison in the United States - one of them declared in court: " I am a terrorist and I am proud of it . "However, one of the two most important figures in the plan managed to escape - Qatari engineer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed fled to Afghanistan before his arrest, where he met his old acquaintance again after seven years in mid-1996 when they fought together as Mujahideen against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. - with Osama bin Laden.

Old-new plan

However, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not stay long in Afghanistan - he refused to become a member of al-Qaeda and wanted to maintain his independence. Osama bin Laden, who was running his actions in Afghanistan at the time after moving from Sudan, listened to his ideas, as did many others, and showed no particular enthusiasm for them.

Al-Qaeda formulated its new strategy, concluding that " ordinary " hijackings did not suit its intentions - they were aimed at negotiating the release of captured terrorists. Apart from the fact that at that time Al Qaeda did not have a friendly state on whose territory such a hijacked plane could land, it had other goals - to cause the greatest possible damage to lives. Therefore, aircraft explosions in the air ( inspired by the Lockerbie case ) were considered. Mohammed, whose thoughts were moving in the same direction at the same time, went further in his plans. His main goal was to damage the American economy as much as possible (he considered New York to be its heart ) and he also clearly personally longed to become a " terrorist star, " the main character of the horrible theater he staged. So far, however, he has not found enough support for his plan.

Mohammed moved his family from Iran to Afghanistan, but he himself spent most of his time traveling in Europe, Asia and Africa, using about 60 false identities, maintaining contacts with various Islamic groups and terrorists. He spent most of 1997 in Prague, from where he often traveled to Germany, where an al-Qaeda cell was born. In 1998, al-Qaeda attacked the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which, in Mohammed's own words, convinced Bin Laden to take action against the US. So he began looking for ways to turn his murderous plan with hijacked planes into reality with the help of al-Qaeda.

Probably sometime between 1998 and 1999, Mohammed formally became a member of al-Qaeda, and shortly thereafter, Bin Laden explicitly agreed to the implementation of his plan. Its first version provided for the hijacking of ten aircraft on the west and east coasts of the United States. The two World Trade Center towers in New York, the Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol, the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Bank of America Tower and the Space Needle in Seattle, nuclear power plants are on the list of targets ... Tenth aircraft he planned to personally kidnap Mohammed, kill all the men on board, land with him in the United States, make a statement, and release the women and children.


Bin Laden soon provided the first four men to become suicide kidnappers - their names were Khalid al Mihdhar, Nawaf al Hazmi, Khallad and Abu Bara al Yemeni. The first two came from Saudi Arabia and had already - on their own initiative - obtained visas to the United States. Khallad, originally from Yemen, applied for a visa, but was arrested in Yemen, where he was involved in preparing to attack the USS Cole ( which eventually took place in October 2000 ). The irony of fate is that his arrest was a mistake, as Khallad was arrested while driving another wanted terrorist, who was also involved in preparing for the USS Cole bombing - but was wanted in connection with other actions in which he had participated earlier. Following the intervention of his father and Bin Laden, who feared that Khallad might reveal a plan to hijack the planes during interrogations, he was released in the summer of 1999 - probably agreeing that Bin Laden would not oppose Yemen unless the Yemeni authorities opposed him. In any case, Khallad seemed trying to get a US visa and returned to Afghanistan.

It has become clear that the biggest problem for terrorists will be getting their people to the United States.The citizens of Saudi Arabia were the most suitable for this, obtaining visas relatively easily, while the Yemenis had considerable problems with this. Mohammed therefore decided to divide the entire operation into two parts, the second of which would be essentially the implementation of the main phase of Bojinka's plan - the hijacking of American companies in East Asia and their explosion over the Pacific, except that they were blown up by Yemeni terrorists. who would not obtain a visa to the USA, a bomb placed in a shoe, who would thus become martyrs, as they wished ... (the possibility of hitting hijacked planes to American targets in Japan, Korea and Singapore was also considered ).

In the autumn of 1999, all four selected terrorists took part - along with about twenty other terrorists personally selected by Bin Laden - training at the al-Qaeda camp in Mes Aynak, an abandoned Russian mine near Kabul (at that time the only functioning al-Qaeda camp, replacing Khowst camp destroyed by US missiles a year earlier ). The training was not focused specifically on aircraft hijacking operations, but was designed as a special one, with extreme difficulty.

In December 1999, Khallad, Hazmi and Abu Bara arrived in Karachi, where Mohammed rented a house for them and prepared lots of instructional materials on Western culture, airlines, pilot training and hijacking. On the way here, Hazmi spent the night in a safe house in Quetta, where he met a certain Mohammed Atta, staying overnight on his way to the al-Qaeda training camp. Mihdhar did not take this course with Mohammed, but with Bin Laden. In about two weeks, Mohammed taught his students basic English phrases, how to book a hotel, how to become familiar with flight schedules and phone books, how to rent a house, how to use the Internet, and other practical skills. In addition, they tried out the control of the plane on the simulator and watched several films depicting the hijacking of the plane ( probably Hollywood productions ...).

After that, all four selected kidnappers went to Kuala Lumpur, because Malaysia did not have a visa requirement with the Gulf countries and the Malaysian authorities were known for their laxity with regard to jihadists. On January 1, 2000, Khallad tested security measures on board American companies while flying from Bangkok to Hong Kong and, among other things, smuggled a knife aboard the aircraft. He then returned to Afghanistan and Abu Bara traveled to Yemen, while Hazmi and Mihdhar flew to the United States on January 15, 2000.

Both were completely unprepared for their task - neither of them had any experience of life in the West, and they also did not speak English. Therefore, they were instructed by Mohammed to seek help at the local mosque and try to make some contacts as new students from Saudi Arabia, which was exactly what he forbade the assassins in other cases. He was expected to cut off all contact after moving to the east coast. It was never possible to find out who and how had helped them in the first weeks in the United States, and whether Al Qaeda in Los Angeles, where they had arrived, had any co-workers ready in advance. In early February, the two terrorists moved to San Diego, where, after some difficulties, they found a suitable apartment in May. They got into the company of the Muslim community, which helped them in every possible way, and they met several other followers of Bin Laden and violent jihad.

It turned out that neither Hazmi nor Mihdhar were able to learn English even with the help of their Muslim friends, which made their pilot training difficult. In addition, they required several flying schools to be able to drive Boeing straight away, while the usual practice was to start on small planes. This was an unfulfillable requirement, and when Mihdhar, who was still in frequent telephone contact with his family in Yemen, gave birth to his first child, he flew home to Yemen on June 9, 2000, and returned later. Mohammed, who did not give him permission to do so, immediately wanted to withdraw him from preparing for the attacks, but Bin Laden opposed it.

Hazmi, who remained in the United States, began to lose interest.He was unable to take care of himself in an unfamiliar environment, let alone learn to fly a plane. He found a job at a gas station, stopped trying to learn English, and watched the progress of fighting in Chechnya and Bosnia on his roommate's computer. However, a few hints from his friends ( he said he would soon find a better job and be famous ) indicate that he did not resign from the original plan.


Meanwhile, in December 1999, four Arab students from Hamburg appeared in Afghanistan, each from a different country ( Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Yemen ). But they formed a very close fundamentalist circle ( its 19 members had practically only fun with each other ) under the influence of Hamburg's radical Islamic cleric Mohammed Haydar Zammar and went together to Afghanistan to take part in jihad camps in Chechnya after training in al-Qaeda. . However, al-Qaeda quickly recognized suitable adepts for its American operation. In addition to the necessary fanaticism, they had a fluent knowledge of English and Western life, as they lived in Germany for several years. They were Mohammed Atta, Ramzi Binalshibh, Marwan al Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah.

Bin Laden and Atef have appointed the group as the main executors of the hijacked plan and Mohammed Attu as its leader. Everything went extraordinarily fast - as early as January 31, 2000, Jarrah was returning to Hamburg, while Atta and Binalshibh were still delayed by meeting with Mohammed, who instructed them about life in the United States and the secrecy of the event, and arrived in Hamburg in late February; Shehhi was sent to the United Arab Emirates almost immediately after arriving in Afghanistan, where he received a new passport, an American visa, and returned to Hamburg via Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and apparently several other places in March. This is how the Al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg was formed, which played a decisive role in the preparations for the attack.


Within organizations such terrorist actions, which were the September 11 attacks, is to be a tremendous amount of different movements of people around the world - messaging, finance, information, guidance ... always when it came to sensitive data (which was often), considered terrorists considered electronic or telephone communication too risky and preferred to rely on personal delivery. The assassins also had to travel around the globe for training, taking instructions, contacting co-workers ... For this purpose, al-Qaeda organized a de facto office for issuing fake passports at the airport in Kandahar under the leadership of Atef. Various members of the network around the world collected samples of identification documents from different countries so that Abu Zabaydah and Mohammed could engage in the production of counterfeits. Some of the other terrorists, probably Mohamed Atta, also learned this art. Another way to obtain false documents was to " recycle " the documents of the Mujahideen who were killed in Afghanistan ( specifically for this purpose, they were asked to leave their documents in place before leaving for the front ).

In the spring of 2000, Bin Laden canceled the East Asian part of the operation because it decided that coordination would be too difficult. However, preparations for the American part of the operation have begun in full swing. Four members of a Hamburg cell who returned from Afghanistan changed their behavior - they stopped visiting radical mosques, distanced themselves from the radical spiritual Zammar, even shaved their beards, and Mohammed Atta began wearing Western clothing. According to their old friends, they began to behave as before they became Muslim fanatics - all so as not to draw unnecessary attention to the authorities with their radicalism.

In fact, they were now looking for a suitable pilot school - they found that schools in Europe were unsatisfactory and that they would have to learn to fly in the USA. Until May, American visas - except for Binalshibh, whose application was rejected - did not surprise the attentive reader of the previous section of this article by specifying that Binalshibh was one of four Hamburg Arab students from Yemen.The US authorities were simply extremely suspicious of Yemeni visa applications, not because of terrorism ( this was not on the agenda before 9/11 ), but because of illegal immigrants and workers.

Marwan al Shehhi arrived in the USA on May 29 and was waiting for Mohammed Attu in New York - he traveled by bus to Prague on June 2, from where he flew to Newark the next day. Atta did not meet or arrange anything in Prague, the only reason was that he considered his departure from Prague as a contribution to the secrecy of the whole event. The third of the Hamburg cell, who obtained a visa to the USA, Ziad Jarrah, in contrast to them, had already secured a place in advance at a pilot school in Florida, where he joined immediately after his arrival in the USA at the end of June. Atta and Shehhi eventually joined another pilot school in the same city as Jarrah. At the end of July, they had completed solo flights and in mid-August obtained pilot licenses for private aircraft.

In mid-September 2000, they successfully applied to change their visa from tourist to student, studying for a pilot school the following year, and signed up for another phase of training at another school in Florida. They excelled there mainly by their rude behavior and the fact that during training flights they sometimes tried to take control against the will of the instructors. At the beginning of October, they did not take their first exams and left school with the understanding that they do not have time because they have work to do.

Jarrah, meanwhile, obtained his private pilot's license in August and flew back to Germany in October to meet his girlfriend ( Aysel Senguen ), with whom he maintained daily telephone and email contacts. They visited Paris together, and at the end of October, Jarrah returned to Florida. At that time, the fourth member of the Hamburg cell, Binalshibh, had four unsuccessful visa applications to the United States, and instead of directly participating in the attack, he became a coordinator and mediator between Mohammed and the assassins in the United States.

Due to the described development, Al Qaeda searched for other suitable assassins, and found Zacarias Moussaoui. Mohammed sent him to Malaysia in the fall of 2000 to learn to fly, but he did not find a suitable school there, so instead of training, he worked out other scenarios of a terrorist attack, specifically the placement of explosives in American cargo planes. When Mohammed found out, he called him back to Pakistan and then sent him to the United States via London, where he met Binalshibh, to learn to fly there.

Al Qaeda was constantly looking for suicide pilots (the original plan called for ten hijacked planes, gradually due to a lack of pilots reduced to four ) and another candidate became Hani Hanjour. He had a stay in Afghanistan, where as a young man he did not manage to intervene in the fight with the Soviet army, and subsequent study in the United States. In 1997 he even obtained a pilot's license for a private jet and in April 1999 a commercial pilot certificate! In Saudi Arabia, where he came from, he wanted to improve his pilot training, but was rejected. He probably really wanted to work as a pilot, but he couldn't. He therefore left home in 1999 to work as a pilot in the United Arab Emirates and disappeared. He appeared in the Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan in the spring of 2000, and when Bin Laden learned of him, he realized that this was exactly the man he was looking for.

After returning to Saudi Arabia, he obtained a student visa to the United States ( enrolled in a language school where he never attended ), traveled to the United Arab Emirates in September, where he met a contact from Al Qaeda who handed him the money, and arrived on December 8, 2000. to San Diego, where Hazmi picked him up at the airport and they both soon left San Diego. Hazmi's friends learned from him in January and February only from several phone calls and emails that they had signed up for the flight school in Arizona, and Hazmi no longer responded to further attempts to contact him.

By that time, all three members of the Hamburg cell in Florida had advanced their training to the stage of " flying " on Boeing simulators. In early 2001, Mohammed Atta in Hamburg told Binalshibh that all three had completed their training and were awaiting further orders.. Binalshibh then flew to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he spent the next few months. Jarrah, who was the only assassin who did not break contact with his family, traveled to Germany with his girlfriend again, then spent a few days in Florida with her, then visited his sick father at home in Beirut and stopped again in Germany with his girlfriend on the way back to Florida. Shehhi visited Casablanca in Morocco. At that time, however, his family was seriously missing him and reported him missing to the authorities. When he found out, he called them and announced that he was still living in Hamburg. The German police, who were trying to find him there, called off the search.

This is followed by a not yet fully explained period, when Jarrah revisited his girlfriend in Germany again in March, while the other two terrorists moved between Virginia and Georgia, carrying out some strange operations, such as hiring a mailbox in Virginia, which they returned in a month. It was probably related to the coordination of the action and the arrival of other terrorists, which each of the pilots will be assigned to control the plane - I will call them " hijackers " for simplicity. Hazmi and Hanjour were moving in Virginia at the same time, but the meeting with Atta probably failed to coordinate.

As for the Hazmi-Hanjour pair, in fact only Hanjour enrolled in the pilot school - he began refresher training at the same school, where he acquired his previous skills, and then began applying for a license to fly multi-engine aircraft. Although he had problems with English and piloting skills, and both of his instructors discouraged him from continuing his training, he successfully completed primary training on the simulator at the end of March. Then, as I wrote, they moved to Virginia and then to New Jersey, where they rented a one-bedroom apartment.

Shehhi traveled to Africa again, this time to Egypt, for an unknown purpose - the only thing that is certain is that during the two weeks he spent there, he met Mohammed Atta's father ( who claimed after 9/11 that it was just a matter of collecting money and driving his son's license, but that's probably a lie - Atta had his driver's license with him ...). When he returned in early May, the planning of the event entered the final part - pilots Atta, Jarrad and Shehhi were in Florida, Hanjour ( along with Hamzim ) in New Jersey, and they all expected the arrival of the " kidnappers ".


In addition to the pilots of the hijacked aircraft, a sufficient number of hijackers had to be found. They were to be men capable of hijacking the plane - getting into the cockpit, killing the pilot and keeping the passengers under control so that the pilot could control the plane. Although they are mostly referred to in English as " muscle hijackers ", they were not bodybuilders; their height was around 170 centimeters. Bin Laden and Atef personally selected them in the summer of 2000 from fanatics who arrived in Afghanistan to take part in jihad ( mostly in Chechnya ). I will try to briefly explain the mechanism of how this happened.

The young fanatical Muslims who decided to become Mujahideen mostly went to Chechnya. Some of them were directed to Afghanistan before leaving, for example, the imam of a local mosque, who had ties to al-Qaeda, while others were stopped at the Turkish-Georgian border. Subsequently, Al Qaeda contacted them and offered them a " stay " in training camps in Afghanistan. There, based on the entry form, Bin Laden and Atef selected suitable candidates for hijacking. The form contained " classic " questions such as: education, employment, what leads you to participate in jihad, how you learned about us ... The most important criterion was the willingness to become a martyr - probably all of the kidnappers volunteered for the suicide mission.The second most important criterion was patience, as it was clear that preparations for the attack would take a long time.

Also preferred were those who had no experience with jihad and were therefore not known to the secret services, and of course those from countries from which it was relatively easy to obtain a visa to the United States. Osama Bin Laden allegedly selected suitable kidnappers within ten minutes. Selected candidates then underwent standard training in al-Qaeda camp ( combat with weapons, unarmed, explosives, maps, discipline ...), personally swore to Bin Laden's willingness to take part in a suicide mission, videotaped a martyr's speech, received $ 2,000 and were sent home to obtain a visa to the United States and then returned for further training. At the same time, the necessary " adjustments " were made to their passports so that their stay in Afghanistan would not arouse suspicion.

Most of them obtained American visas between September and November 2000.

At the turn of 2000 and 2001, they returned to Afghanistan, participated in special training - hijacking, disarming the guard, handling explosives, working with a knife, reinforcements and basic English words and phrases, but were also instructed in activities such as car attacks with explosives and similarly, so that in the event of disclosure, they cannot disclose the plan. Until their arrival in the USA, they did not know what event they were going to. In the spring of 2001, they received $ 10,000 in additional expenses and flew to the United States via the United Arab Emirates ( where they were taken care of by the Al Qaeda link ). They mostly traveled with their tourist visas in pairs to Florida ( where Mohammed Atta and Shehhi were waiting for them ) or to New York or Washington, where Hazmi and Hanjour were waiting for them. Between April and June, everyone successfully reached the USA.

At least eight of the hijackers traveled to and from Afghanistan via Iran. The link between Iran and Hezbollah, which is headquartered here, to Al Qaeda remains somewhat unclear, but it is certain that some form of cooperation has taken place. It is documented that the Iranians did not stamp Al Qaeda on their passports at the border so as not to compromise them. In addition, senior Hezbollah officials were suspiciously in the planes used by the hijackers from or to Iran. Direct cooperation in training is not documented, and both sides reject any connection between Hezbollah and the 9/11 attacks. Hezbollah seemed to be primarily interested in cooperating with Al Qaeda, but Bin Laden struggled with contacts between the two organizations so as not to discourage his supporters from Saudi Arabia, who are more important to him.

Initially, a total of about 20 potential hijackers were selected, but their numbers declined due to the fact that some did not obtain a visa, some were withdrawn from action by Al Qaeda and some changed their minds at 13. They were Satam al Suqami, Wail al Shehri, Waleed al Shehri, Abdul Aziz al Omari, Ahmed al Ghamdi, Hamza al Ghamdi, Mohand al Shehri, Majed Moqed, Salem al Hazmi, Saeed al Ghamdi, Ahmad al Haznawi, Ahmed al Nami and Fayez Banihammad. Except for the last of them, who came from the United Arab Emirates, they were all Saudis. Mohammed refuted speculation that it was a deliberate message to the government of Saudi Arabia. It is simply the result of the above criteria - Saudis had the easiest way to obtain visas to the United States, and they made up the largest number of jihadists - about 70% of Saudi camps were in Al Qaeda camps ( 20% of Yemenis and 10% of others ).

All the kidnappers were between the ages of 20 and 28, not very well educated - none of them graduated from college ( 5 were studying at the time of the attacks, one had not finished before, the others were at most medium, some not even here ), 9 came from poor areas of Saudi Arabia. Arabia, and almost everyone had ties to terrorists a few years before the attacks. Some were devout Muslims, but no one recognized fanatics in them, some were even considered very lukewarm believers - at least two regularly consumed alcohol, which Islam forbids. Their transformation into fanatics took place under the influence of certain clergy and in some cases under the influence of members of their own family.In 1999 and 2000, they gradually loosened ties with families and prepared for a longer absence. Their behavior changed ( for example, Salem, who had alcohol problems, suddenly became an abstinent and began to visit the mosque regularly; he disappeared three months later ).

Mahdhar, mentioned above, joined these 13 kidnappers. Upon his return to Yemen, he was persuaded to travel again to Afghanistan, where he met Mohammed, to whom he complained about life in the United States. He wanted to release him from the action immediately, but Bin Laden was against it. At the end of 2000, he moved to Mecca, from where he returned to Afghanistan - with a stop at home in Yemen. Then, again through Mecca, where he had relatives he had asked to take care of his family because he had a task to do, he arrived in New York on July 4.

Together with four pilots, all 19 terrorists in the United States - ironically out of history since July 4, Independence Day - were ready to carry out Al Qaeda's murderous plan.

Final preparations

Bin Laden insisted on speeding up preparations for the attacks - in Mohammed's own words on three occasions - at the earliest after the then chairman of Israel's strongest opposition party, Ariel Sharon, launched a Palestinian intifada in November 2000, when MOhammed objected to terrorists. they are not ready yet; Bin Laden suggested that it was enough if the planes only hit the ground. The Al Qaeda network even sounded the same alarm at the time as before the attack on the USS Cole ( and later before 9/11 ), which meant increased security measures, the temporary disappearance of Al Qaeda leaders, a warning that it would now be a little harder for Al Qaeda terrorists to travel the world. etc. For the second time in May 2001 on the anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole, and for the third time at the turn of June and July, when he learned that Sharon would visit the White House. In all cases, Mohammed resisted this pressure and convinced Bin Laden that the action must be properly prepared.

However, some Taliban leaders also began to oppose the attack - they hosted al Qaeda in their country and thought they had the right to decide on its activities. While Mula Umar, the Taliban leader, opposed ideological reasons (he believed that Al Qaeda should attack Jews, not the United States ), some other Taliban leaders more realistically ( as it turned out, very realistically ) feared that the United States engages in the civil war in Afghanistan; in the autumn of 2001, they were planning an offensive against the Northern Alliance, which they hoped to destroy definitively. Most of Al Qaeda's leadership did not agree with Bin Laden, but he did nothing about it. His relations with the Taliban were, in fact, a little more complicated - in August, Al Qaeda had several terrorists posing as journalists to kill him in the Northern Alliance leader's camp ( it was not until late on September 9, and the Taliban offensive broke out the day after). as agreed with Al Qaeda ), and Bin Laden was aware that the Taliban depended heavily on Al Qaeda ( not only because of the assassination, but also because a large proportion of Taliban fighters on the Northern Front were Al Qaeda-supplied jihadists ). He could therefore probably afford to ignore the Taliban's disapproval.

After a short time in hotels, the kidnappers moved into various apartments near Mohammed Atta's residence, and some began to visit the gym. The pilots completed several flights on the same types of aircraft they were about to take off, and Jarrah and Hanjour underwent several additional test flights in the summer, including the Hudson Corridor, a busy airline in the immediate vicinity of New York, with good views of the WTC and other landmarks.

It was not until the end of June that the first meeting between Atta ( who commanded the whole event and was with most terrorists in Florida ) and Hazmi ( who was in charge of a group of hijackers and resided in New Jersey ).Atta's last meeting with Binalshibh was scheduled for June in Malaysia, but Atta was busy arranging everything needed for the new hijackers at the time, and the meeting was postponed to July until it finally took place on July 9 in Madrid.

Binalshibh instructed Att from Bin Laden, demanding that the action be taken as soon as possible, because now that all 19 terrorists were in the United States, Bin Laden feared disclosure. Atta was also worried that they would arouse suspicion, so he instructed Binalshib to buy a new cell phone for future communications, and had some bracelets brought from him, because he wanted his group to look as rich as Arab tourists as much as possible. Bin Laden said the WTC, Pentagon and White House towers were to be targeted, which contradicted the original plan, which envisaged an attack on the Capitol. Atta announced that he had not yet set a date for the attack, as he had been involved in organizing the kidnappers' arrival, and that he would select a date that required the coordination of the entire operation so that all targets were destroyed at about the same time. The attack on the White House has not yet been confirmed, as Hazmi and Hanjour, who were in charge, have not yet evaluated the feasibility of such an action.

Interestingly, during this meeting, Atta told Binalshib that he was considering an attack on a nuclear power plant near New York, but other pilots considered it too risky due to the no-fly zone around the power plants. Moreover, such an idea was not discussed with Al Qaeda leaders and, in the opinion of the terrorists, did not have the same symbolic meaning as other goals. So Atta did not even ask Binalshib to present a proposal to Al Qaeda. Instead, he complained that some of the terrorists wanted to contact families and say goodbye, which he strictly forbade them. He had a more serious conflict with Jarrah over his visits to his family and especially his girlfriend in Germany, and Mohammed even feared for a time that Jarrah would leave the action plan at the last minute because of him. However, after talking to Atta, Binalshib was convinced that there was no such danger.

They also discussed in detail how the attacks would be carried out - Atta informed Binalshib that his colleagues had easily carried knives aboard and that they planned to carry out the abduction 10-15 minutes after takeoff, when the cockpit door first opened. In case that didn't happen, he didn't have a specific backup plan - he just mentioned the general use of hostages or claims that he had a bomb on board. He further explained to Binalshib that he intended to hijack long-haul aircraft because they would have full tanks, and that he had opted for the Boeings because he had discovered that the Airbuses had an autopilot that would not allow the plane to hit the ground. The kidnappers were divided into groups according to their language skills, so that they could help each other in life in the USA and during the abduction, so that there would always be someone among them who could give instructions to passengers.

On July 25, Jarrah flew to Germany again to visit his girlfriend - and unlike all previous flights, he didn't buy a return ticket this time. In fact, Al Qaeda may have been preparing a deputy for him - Moussaoui, mentioned above, attended a pilot school in the United States from February to the end of May, and although he did not make it to large airliners at all ( he had flown only 50 hours and no flight without an instructor ), he started collecting materials about Boenig and just in July he arranged for a flight training on a simulator of large transport aircraft in August. He also made similar preparations to other pilots.

However, he aroused suspicion on the simulator by his behavior - he had practically no experience or did not intend to obtain a pilot's license, and in fact he could not explain why he was training on the simulator. He was therefore arrested on August 16. At that time, however, Jarrah had already returned to Germany, determined to carry out the operation. Moussaoui never had any contact with the other kidnappers ( only with Binalshib, but the police did not find out before 9/11 ), and Al Qaeda's leader did not even ask for his arrest before 9/11.they didn't know in september - Binalshib believes that if that happened, they might cancel the whole event.

The role of Moussaoui in the whole plan is unclear. Mohammed allegedly did not want him to participate in the plan, and he did not revoke it simply because Bin Laden did not want it. Binalshib inferred from the indications that he was part of the action, but knew no details. Moussaoui's statements contradict each other. Mohammed later claimed to be the pilot of the second wave, but had previously claimed to have called off the second wave of attacks long before that. And Bin Laden has not yet been forced to answer these questions ...

When Atta returned from Germany, he reunited with Hazmi, and during August, the final preparations took place - Atta and Binalshib often called and decided in code language how to divide the teams of candidates, how to buy tickets, and especially Binalshib finally convinced Attu, that the last target should be the White House; However, Atta agreed reluctantly, exchanging that the Capitol would be an alternative target if hitting the White House proved too difficult. At the same time, the first approximate date of the attacks fell in this context - the second week in September, when the Congress will meet again.

On August 4, Kahtani arrived in the United States from Dubai to reinforce the hijackers, and Atta went to pick him up at Orlando Airport. However, Kahtani was not allowed into the country by immigration officials because he had little money, no return ticket, no English and could not explain what he intended to do in the country. During August, teams of hijackers were assembled without him, knives were purchased, which were probably used in the hijacking, other flights were performed by pilots in the same types of aircraft they were about to hijack, pilots refreshed their skills several times in a leased small aircraft, in the gym. On August 23, Atta met Hazmi in person again and probably selected suitable flights - between August 25 and September 5, tickets were reserved for all 19 terrorists on September 11, 2001.

Although Atta forbade all terrorists, he himself called his father for the last time on September 9. In addition to saying goodbye to him, he had other terrorists say goodbye and greeted Mohammed. Jarrah, of course, left a farewell letter for his girlfriend. However, Hazmi was probably very irresponsible about the secrecy of the event - several of his acquaintances from San Diago received messages from him at the end of August indicating that something big would happen soon. Two of them even hastened their marriage because of it, because they all expected the security forces to take an early interest in themselves. Some witnesses claim that the day before the attacks, the group, which was still working at the same gas station, behaved strangely cheerfully, pointing out that " it " would finally happen. All this indicates that at least some of them probably knew more about what Hazmi was up to, than they admitted in the ensuing investigation ( where they claimed they had no idea ).

During the week before 9/11, they all moved to where their flights took off and returned the remaining funds to Al Qaeda.

11th September 2001

Describe in detail the events of 11.9. 2001 is not the subject of this article. Many similar descriptions can be found on the Internet ( eg ). Here I will deal more with the reaction of the American administration.

President Bush was at a primary school in Florida at the time of the attacks. He learned of the crash of the first plane at about 8:55, less than ten minutes after it occurred. He was told that it was a small aircraft, but security adviser Condoleezza Rice, with whom he contacted, subsequently clarified that it was a commercial route. At this point, however, no one had any idea that it was a terrorist attack. Just as the second plane crashed into the second WTC tower ( 9:03 a.m. ), Bush entered the classroom to visit the students.Just two minutes later, just as he was about to begin reading to the students, the counselor quietly told him that a second plane had crashed into the second tower. " America is under attack ," he added. This moment was captured by television cameras, and so a very famous shot was taken, which shows Bush taking a book after this serious message and starting to read it to the students. As he later explained, he decided not to frighten them and continued reading for about 10 minutes as he had planned. Then he went to another room, which had meanwhile been occupied by the CIA, and made it an impromptu " command post ."

At 9:26, all aircraft in the USA are canceled. At 9:29 a.m., again coincidentally as terrorists broke into the cockpit of the last hijacked plane, Flight 93, Bush made the first public statement, broadcast from the elementary school building, surrounded by teachers and children. He announces " National Tragedy II", keeps a minute of silence for the victims and announces that he will return to Washington. At that time, he did not know that other planes had been hijacked. At 9:35, however, based on a warning from the air traffic controller from the airport in Washington, the White House and the vice president are being evacuated, as another hijacked plane ( flight 77 ) is heading for the White House. As Vice President Chaney walks down the underground passage to a safe haven, the plane crashes into the Pentagon. At 9:43 the evacuation of the Capitol and the White House is completed.

At 9:45 the airspace over the USA is closed. All aircraft that are in the air are ordered to land immediately at the nearest airport. All international flights to the US are diverted to Canada. Canada joins the United States and closes its airspace ( with the exception of aircraft diverted here from the United States ). At 9:52 a.m., US Secret Service intercepted a phone call from Osama bin Laden's co-worker from Afghanistan to a stranger in Georgia telling him that he had good news and that another target would be hit. At 9:57, at the time when the crew and passengers' fight with the hijackers begins on board the last hijacked aircraft, Air Force One takes off with the president on board. He orbits the area for the next 40 minutes, while on board decides where he should fly.

At 9:59 a.m., the WTC's South Tower, which had been hit second about 55 minutes earlier, rushes to the ground in a live television broadcast. It was hit lower than the North Tower, and therefore crashed faster. Just three minutes after the vice president receives information that a fourth hijacked plane is headed for Washington, it crashes to the ground near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The passengers found out by phone what was happening and defied their fate. The terrorists and the plane headed for the ground when passengers were threatened with getting into the cockpit. The terrorist attack is actually over, but no one has known for sure for a long time.

A few minutes after ten, the name Osama bin Laden was first mentioned in CNN and NBC as a possible organizer of the attacks. Between 10:10 and 10:15, the vice president, unaware that Flight 93 has crashed in Pennsylvania, orders two fighters circling over Washington to attack a hijacked plane approaching the city. If it had not been neutralized by passengers, it would have reached its destination ( either the Capitol or the White House ) within a few minutes. He couldn't be stopped.

At that time, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which claims to be responsible for the attack, reacts flexibly to developments. The organization's senior officials are quick to call it off. At 10:28 the North Tower of the WTC rushes. Only three minutes later, fighter pilots over Washington find out about the vice president's hijacking permit issued by the vice president. Air Force One is finally heading for Louisiana.

The confusion begins, which inevitably accompanies similar rapidly rushing events.Fighters over Washington are looking in vain for another reported hijacked plane heading over the city, several reports of bombs being placed in various parts of the capital turn out to be false, as are rumors of a complete evacuation of New York and Washington ( only an evacuation order is issued at 10:43 Lower Manhattan ).

Before noon, the situation is clarified, four specific lost aircraft are confirmed. The Taliban condemn the attacks. A few minutes after noon, the airspace over the US is free of commercial aircraft. At 1:04 p.m., the President of the United States puts the country's military forces on alert. At the same time, after the landing of the plane, he makes a speech in which he declares, among other things: " freedom itself has been cowardly attacked today, and we will defend freedom". He then flies to Nebraska.

By four o'clock, Bin Laden was being talked about as the main suspect in the preparation of the attacks. At the same time, it is announced that the stock exchange will remain closed for another day. At six o'clock, Iraq declares that "the attacks are the result of American crimes against humanity ". Before seven o'clock, President Bush is in the White House and at half past seven he speaks to the nation. " Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts, [...] Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve [...] The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts ... we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. " At the same time, information appears in the corridors that the administration is sure that Al Qaeda is behind the attacks.

In the evening, the president met with a small team of advisers to discuss the US response to the terrorist attacks. The president said it was time to defend himself and that the United States would punish not only those who planned the attacks, but also those who provided refuge. U.S. Foreign Adviser Colin Powell spoke about the need to build a coalition and make it clear to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Arab states that it is time to act. Bush added that this is a good opportunity to involve Russia and China. It was clear that it was necessary to find out who was helping the terrorists - Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan and Iran have been considered from the beginning. Powell warned that a major strike on any of these countries could be prepared in about 60 days, by which time evidence needed to be obtained as to which of them had helped the terrorists.

Over the following days, a strategy for fighting a new enemy was defined. After the 9/11 attacks, a new era began in American politics, a period of war on terrorism.


Zacarias Moussaoui was, as already mentioned, arrested on 16 August 2001, officially for violating immigration rules, in fact for the vague suspicion of an instructor with whom he was flying a simulator. His connection with the 9/11 attacks could not be proven, his own statements changed. He probably shouldn't have been part of the 9/11 attacks, perhaps he was preparing for an action that was to take place later. On April 3, 2006, he was sentenced to death, a month later, was sentenced to six years in prison without the possibility of release.

Binnalshibh was arrested after a shootout in Pakistan exactly one year after the attacks - September 11, 2002. He is being held at Guantánamo.

Atef was killed in 2003 in Afghanistan.

Khallad was captured in May 2003 by US forces in Pakistan. He is being held at Guantánamo.

Mohammed was arrested in 2003 in Pakistan ( details and date of his arrest are unclear; Pakistani police have reported him several times ). He confessed to organizing the attacks of 11.September ( and many other acts of terrorism; his statements are therefore sometimes questioned ) and provided much of the information used in this article during the interrogations at Guantánamo. He is currently still in pre-trial detention.

In terms of funding, it must be stated that even a terrorist act of this magnitude is not, in principle, financially costly. According to a report by the US 9/11 attacks, the entire al-Qaeda operation that funded it cost only $ 400,000 to $ 500,000. At the same time, the CIA estimated that al-Qaeda needed $ 30,000,000 a year for its day-to-day " operations " before 9/11 ( used for jihadist pay, purchase of weapons and equipment, operation of training camps, support for various friendly groups and cells around the world, and after settling in Afghanistan also for a financial reward for the Taliban for providing shelter ). Although it was previously thought that most of the funds were provided by Bin Laden from his vast fortunes, this turned out not to be true. In fact, after leaving Sudan, he owned virtually nothing. Al Qaeda has received funding from various donors ( notably Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states ) who have supported ( sometimes unknowingly ) its jihad against the United States. These " charities " also provided great cover for al Qaeda members as they travel the world. Apart from the Taliban, no other government of any state was directly involved in financing the organization. Al Qaeda was constantly transferring money between different banks, but in essence it spent it as fast as it obtained it, so it did not build up any large financial reserves - which only simplified secrecy. The FBI and other intelligence services also found no connection between al-Qaeda and the drug trade (which the Taliban used to finance it ) or the so-called Blood Diamonds, as previously speculated. Likewise, it was not possible to find out that someone with knowledge of the attack plan would use the movement on the stock exchange after 9/11 to raise funds.

Final Report The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

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