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|Born||Satam al-Suqami (in Arabic: سطام السقامي)
June 28, 1976
|Died||September 11, 2001
North Tower, World Trade Center
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Airplane crash/murder-suicide|
Satam Muhammed Abdel Rahman al-Suqami (Arabic: سطام السقامي, Saṭām as-Suqāmī) (June 28, 1976 – September 11, 2001) was a Saudi law student and one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 as part of the September 11 attacks.
He arrived in the United States in April 2001. On September 11, 2001, Suqami boarded American Airlines Flight 11 and participated in the hijacking of the plane so that it could be crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the coordinated attacks.
Early life and education
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A native of the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh, Suqami was a law student at the King Saud University. While there he joined a (possible) former roommate named Majed Moqed in training for al-Qaida at Khalden, a large training facility near Kabul that was run by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. In November 2000, the two flew into Iran from Bahrain together.
The FBI says Suqami first arrived in the U.S. on April 23, 2001, with a visa that allowed him to remain in the country until May 21. However, at least five residents of the Spanish Trace Apartments claim to recognize the photographs of both Suqami and Salem al-Hazmi as living in the San Antonio complex earlier in 2001. Interestingly however, these residents and several others who claim to have known the hijackers, claim that the FBI photographs of Suqami and Hazmi are reversed. Other reports conflictingly suggested that Suqami was staying with Waleed al-Shehri in Hollywood, Florida and rented a black Toyota Corolla from Alamo Rent-A-Car agency.
On May 19, Suqami and Waleed al-Shehri took a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, Bahamas where they had reservations at the Princess Resort. Lacking proper documentation however, they were stopped upon landing, and returned to Florida the same day and rented a red Kia Rio from Avis Rent-A-Car agency.
He was one of nine hijackers to open a SunTrust bank account with a cash deposit around June 2001, and on July 3 he was issued a Florida State Identification Card. Around this time, he also used his Saudi license to gain a Florida drivers' license bearing the same home address as Wail al-Shehri. (A Homing Inn in Boynton Beach). Despite this, the 9/11 Commission claims that Suqami was the only hijacker to not have any US identification.
During the summer, Suqami and both Wail and Waleed al-Shehri purchased one month passes to a Boynton Beach gym owned by Jim Woolard. (Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi also reportedly trained at a gym owned by Woolard, in Delray Beach.)
Known as Azmi during the preparations, Suqami was called one of the "muscle" hijackers, who were not expected to act as pilots. CIA director George Tenet later said that they "probably were told little more than that they were headed for a suicide mission inside the United States."
On the day of the attacks, Suqami checked in at the flight desk using his Saudi passport, and boarded American Airlines Flight 11. At Logan International Airport, he was selected by CAPPS, which required his checked bags to undergo extra screening for explosives and involved no extra screening at the passenger security checkpoint.
An FAA memo, circulated in February 2002, claimed that Suqami stabbed passenger Daniel M. Lewin (Seat 9B), co-founder of Akamai Technologies and a former member of the Israeli Sayeret Matkal, for attempting to foil the hijacking. While based on the frantic phonecall received from a stewardess of the flight, the report has been a matter of some controversy, since both the FAA and FBI have strongly denied the presence of firearms smuggled aboard. It is now believed that Suqami stabbed Lewin as he attempted to intervene in the hijacking
Suqami's passport was found by a passerby (identity unknown), reportedly in the vicinity of Vesey Street, before the towers collapsed. (This was mistakenly reported by many news outlets to be Mohamed Atta's passport.) A columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian expressed incredulity about the authenticity of this report, questioning whether a paper passport could survive the inferno unsinged when the plane's black boxes were never found. According to testimony before the 9/11 Commission by lead counsel Susan Ginsburg, his passport had been "manipulated in a fraudulent manner in ways that have been associated with al Qaeda." Passports belonging to Ziad Jarrah and Saeed al-Ghamdi were found at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 as well as an airphone.
- Joe Conger (January 10, 2001). "2 hijackers identified as former S.A. residents". mysanantonio.com. Archived from the original on May 14, 2003. "At least five sources tell KENS 5, two of the men, Satam al-Suqami and Salem al-Hazmi, lived at the Spanish Trace Apartments on the North Side earlier this year"
- "911 Commission Report, section 7.4 'Final Strategies and Tactics', page 241".
- Videotape of recorded will of Abdulaziz al-Omari and others
- "Sept. 11 Hijacker Made Test Flights". CBS. October 9, 2002.
- "9/11 Commission Report (Chapter 1)". July 2004.
- "The Aviation Security System and the 9/11 Attacks - Staff Statement No. 3" (PDF). 9/11 Commission.
- "Ashcroft says more attacks may be planned". CNN. September 18, 2001. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- 9/11 Commission hearings, January 26, 2004, Opening staff statement, Susan Ginsburg
- NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik Says Hijacker's Passport was Found 3-4 Blocks from the WTC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=in7bMWVkTi8&feature=related
- Karpf, Anne (March 19, 2002). "Uncle Sam's lucky finds". London: The Guardian. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "Remembering September 11th". The Boston Globe. September 11, 2009.