February 26, 1993. Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist group known as Al Qaeda bombed the basement of the World Trade Center, but failed to carry out the rest of the bombs to other targets such as the Lincoln Tunnel and United Nations. When they bombed the basement of the WTC they excpeted the building to fall over, it did not. Creative President of Al Qaeda Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a big part in getting this done, and his nephew Ramzi Yusef who remained uncaught for the time being, was the mastermind behind the bombing. During 1996, Mohammed started planning a new attack but this time he thought ground attacks would be to dangerous, he wanted air attacks hijacking planes and crashing them into targets. It would be devastating if able to pull off. He pitched the idea to Bin Laden, and Bin Laden liked it. Around this time 4 islamic extremists moved from the middle east to Hamburg, Germany. They created what became known as The Hamburg Cell. The leader: Mohammed Atta. The other three: Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh, Ziad Jarrah and Marwan Al-Shehhi. Al-Shibh was a membor of Al-Qaeda and soon after this cell was created the leader Atta joined Al-Qaeda as well. Jarrah was brainwashed to say the least. He and his girlfriend Aysel Sengun in Germany had a relatively normal life until he was brainwashed to go extreme. Aysel never excpected her future housemate, husband and father of her kids would go extreme. Atta’s cousin Marwan Al-Shehhi was also brainwarped in a certain way, they all were by Bin Laden. During 1997 Al Qaeda recognized these four, considering them great for their planes plan. All fluent in English, speak other languages, two of which have a “non-arab-sounding” name and three of which can easily blend in (excluding Atta). Al Qaeda gave the plan to them, considering them the future hijacker-pilots of 4 planes. They had planned for 10 planes though. The hit list included:
- World Trade Center 1
- World Trade Center 2
- Department of Defense (Pentagon)
- Capitol Building
- White House
- Camp David
- United Nations 1
- Sears Tower
- City of San Francisco
- Land, kill all the men on board, demand ransom, burn the ransom and turn themselves in.
Khalid Mohammed planned on flying the tenth plane, but after complications figuring out how to get that many “brothers” (terrorists) into the country the number was shortened to 5 in 1999. They already had Hani Hanjour and Zacarias Moussaoui were already being considered for plane number 5.
The Hamburg Cell went on the call this plan, the planes operation. Mohammed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah got into the country in early 2000 and started learning how to fly single jets and studied/simulated airliners. However a major speedbump came, Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh was having problems entering the country. They officially decided to send in Hani Hanjour as Bin Al-Shibh’s replacement. Moussaoui also got in and started training to fly plane number 5. Eventually, it became clear that Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh could not make it in, but still they had the perfect replacement in Hanjour. Hanjour and Moussaoui were having a hard time training, but Hanjour felt confident he can fly his plane. In 2001 Atta had announced that he, Al-Shehhi, Hanjour and Jarrah all learned to fly and were heading into the final phase, figuring out how to get control of planes. Atta started hanging out at airports and figured out that Tuesday mornings are the least-packed. He realized that as long as you hide knives and boxcutters in sponges, the scanners will not detect them. Scanners will also not detect mace or pepper spray if it is in a purse at the bottom of the backpack. Bombs and guns would be detected, so fakes were recommended. He also realized that cross country flights have the most fuel, and going east to west would be perfect because when flying into the building, it would go the fastest possible considering the amount of fuel it will have. He then began taking testflights.He realized that all he needed was 4 other guys in the front of the plane with the hijackers-pilots is all they needed. These men were to be considered the “Muscle-Hijackers”. Atta realized that the best time to strike is about 15 minutes after takeoff. The final phase would be finished when the muscle hijackers were sent into the country, and finally it would be the attacks. Atta decided his target was to be World Trade Center 1. Al-Shehhi decided his target was to be World Trade Center 2. Hanjour after taking a while to decided went with a risk and was set on the Pentagon. Jarrah and Moussaoui were both told by Atta that the White House would be too hard and he didn’t recommend it. It is unknown what Jarrah chose in a decision between the Capitol Building, Camp David and the White House, but both Khalid Mohammed and Ramzi Yusef claim the target was the Capitol Building.Moussaoui though was having problems flying his plane, and if he could, then he was probably set on the White House or something. Khalid Mohammed starting finding muscle-hijackers. Abdulaziz Al-Omari, Walled M Al-Shehri, Wail M Al-Shehri and Satam Al-Suqami were decided to be Atta’s crew. In fact, Atta was living with Al-Omari for a while. Fayez Banihammad, Hamza Al-Ghamdi, Ahmed Al-Ghamdi and Mohand Al-Shehri were to be Al-Shehhi’s crew. Hanjour’s crew had Khalid Al-Midhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi already set who were originally on U.S.A.’s watch list. Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi were originally considered as replacements for Bin Al-Shibh, but because of their poor English skills and bossy attitudes it was cancelled. They were then set to be a part of Hanjour’s crew once he was decided to be the pilot. Al-Hazmi’s brother Salem joined them and so did Majed Moqed. All four began living together, Salem Al-Hazmi spoke no English. Ziad Jarrah’s crew included Saeed Al-Ghamdi, Ahmed Al-Haznawi and Ahmed Al-Nami. The fifth was considered to be either Ramzi Yusef or Mohammed Al-Qahtani. Both were unsuccesful to get a U.S. visa. Moussaoui was having troubles learning to fly and was set to be the fifth hijacker of the fourth plane if unsuccessful. Before he knew what he was going to do, he got arrested for illegal immigration (using a false visa). They found loads of Al-Qaeda papers and lethal weapons on him. Jarrah’s crew remained without a fifth hijacker. The intended “20th hijacker” to this day remains semi-unknown. Over the final month before the attacks, they began blowing their cover. However the U.S. being clueless caused it to go unknown. Atta and his crew were set to bored American 11 at 8:00 AM in Boston Logan International airport. Al-Shehhi and his crew were asigned the same airport on United 175 at 8:00 AM. Hanjour and his crew were set to board American 77 at 8:10 AM at Washington D.C. Dulles International. Jarrah and his crew were set for United 93 at 8:00 AM at Newark New Jersey International. The Hijackers then began splitting up around the East Coast, and were set to take planes on the 10th and very early 11th to get to the hotels necessary near the airports they are set to board their airplanes. The rest… is history.
(Next week I will be writing more about it, explaining what most likely happened on the doomed planes.)