Abdulaziz al-Omari

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Abdulaziz al-Omari
(Arabic: عبد العزيز العمري)
Abdulaziz al-Omari.png
Born Abdulaziz al-Omari
(1979-05-28)May 28, 1979
'Asir Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 22)
North Tower, World Trade Center
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Abdulaziz al-Omari (Arabic: عبد العزيز العمري‎, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-ʿUmarī, also transliterated as Alomari or al-Umari; May 28, 1979[1] – September 11, 2001) was a Saudi airport security guard and Imam, best known for being one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 as part of the September 11 attacks.

Omari arrived in the United States in June 2001, on a tourist visa, obtained through the Visa Express program. On September 11, 2001, Omari boarded American Airlines Flight 11 and assisted in the hijacking of the plane, which was crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, as part of the coordinated attacks.

Early life and education[edit]

Little is known about Omari's life, and it is unclear whether some information refers to Omari or another person by that name. He has used birth dates of December 24, 1972 and May 28, 1979.

Omari came from 'Asir Province, a poor region in southwestern Saudi Arabia that borders Yemen, and graduated with honours from high school, attained a degree from the Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, was married, and had a daughter.[2]

Career[edit]

He is alleged to have often served as an Imam at his mosque in Saudi Arabia and is believed by American Authorities[who?] to have been a student of a Saudi cleric named Sulayman al Alwan, whose mosque is located in Al-Qassim Province.

According to Tawfiq bin Attash, Omari was one of a group of future hijackers who provided security at Kandahar airport after their basic training at an al-Qaeda camp. During the 2000 Al Qaeda Summit in Kuala Lumpur, American authorities claim that immigration records show that a person named Abdulaziz al-Omari was visiting the country, although they say they are not sure that this was the same person.

In the autumn of 2001, after the September 11 attacks, al Jazeera television broadcast a tape they claim was made by Omari. The speaker made a farewell suicide video. In it, he reads "I am writing this with my full conscience and I am writing this in expectation of the end, which is near. . . God praise everybody who trained and helped me, namely the leader Sheikh Osama bin Laden."[citation needed]

According to FBI director Robert Mueller and the 9/11 Commission, Omari entered the United States through a Dubai flight on June 29, 2001, with Salem al-Hazmi, landing in New York.[3] He had used the controversial Visa Express program to gain entry. He apparently stayed with several other hijackers in Paterson, New Jersey, before moving to his own place at 4032 57th Terrace, Vero Beach, Florida. On his rental agreement form for that house, Omari gave two license-plates authorized to park in his space, one of which was registered to Atta.[4] Omari occasionally trained on simulators at the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida together with Mohand al-Shehri and Saeed al-Ghamdi.[5]

Omari obtained a fake United States ID card from All Services Plus in Passaic County, New Jersey, which was in the business of selling fake documents, including another to Khalid al-Mihdhar.[6]

Attacks[edit]

Atta (blue shirt) and Omari at Portland International Jetport on 9/11

On September 10, 2001, Mohamed Atta picked up Omari from the Milner Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, and the two drove their rented Nissan to a Comfort Inn in South Portland, Maine, where they spent the night in room 232. It was initially reported that Adnan and Ameer Bukhari were the two hijackers who had rented and driven the car.[7]

Wrongly accused Abdul Rahman al-Omari

In the early hours of September 11, they boarded a commuter flight back to Boston to connect to American Airlines Flight 11. American 11 was hijacked 15 minutes after the flight departed by Omari and four other hijackers, which allowed trained pilot Mohamed Atta to crash the Boeing 767 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of an attack that killed thousands of people.

Legacy[edit]

Mistaken identity[edit]

Controversy over Omari's identity erupted shortly after the attacks. At first, the FBI had named Abdul Rahman al-Omari, a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines, as the pilot of Flight 11. It was quickly shown that this person was still alive, and the FBI issued an apology. It was also quickly determined that Mohamed Atta was the pilot among the hijackers. The FBI then named Abdulaziz al-Omari as a hijacker.

A man with the same name as those given by the FBI turned up alive in Saudi Arabia, saying that he had studied at the University of Denver and his passport was stolen there in 1995. The name, origin, birth date, and occupation were released by the FBI, but the picture was not of him. "I couldn't believe it when the FBI put me on their list", he said. "They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive. I have no idea how to fly a plane. I had nothing to do with this."[8][9][10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John J. Lumpkin. "Abdul Aziz al Omari". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  2. ^ CIA analytic report,"The Plot and the Plotters," June 1, 2003, p. 25.
  3. ^ "Statement of Robert S. Mueller: Joint Investigation Into September 11: (published September 26, 2002)". Fas.org. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  4. ^ FBI Affidavit: Page 11 ABC
  5. ^ "Piecing together the shadowy lives of the hijackers". The Daily Telegraph (London). September 20, 2001. Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ Miller, Jonathan (2003-03-08). "A Plea Deal, Then Freedom, in Terror Case Where Prosecutors Kept Evidence a Secret". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  7. ^ Two Brothers among Hijackers: CNN Report People's Daily
  8. ^ Sack, Kevin (September 16, 2001). "AFTER THE ATTACKS: MISSED CUES; Saudi May Have Been Suspected in Error, Officials Say". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Middle East | Hijack 'suspects' alive and well". BBC News. 2001-09-23. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 

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