(Arabic: عبد العزيز العُمري)
May 28, 1979
|Died||September 11, 2001 (aged 22)|
|Cause of death||Deliberate crash of American Airlines Flight 11|
Abdulaziz al-Omari (Arabic: عبد العزيز العمري, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-ʿUmarī, also transliterated as Alomari or al-Umari; May 28, 1979 – September 11, 2001) was a Saudi airport security guard and imam who was 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
Little is known about al-Omari's life, and it is unclear whether some information refers to Omari or another person by that name. He had used the birth date May 28, 1979.
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 Saudi cleric Sulaiman Al-Alwan, whose mosque is located in Al-Qassim Province.
According to Walid 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 state 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 read, "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."
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. 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.
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. He was married and had a daughter.
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.
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.
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."
- John J. Lumpkin. "Abdul Aziz al Omari". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- Unger, Craig (19 March 2004). House of Bush, House of Saud. Simon and Schuster. p. 230. ISBN 9780743266239. Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Statement of Robert S. Mueller: Joint Investigation Into September 11: (published September 26, 2002)". Fas.org. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- FBI Affidavit: Page 11 ABC
- 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.
- Two Brothers among Hijackers: CNN Report People's Daily
- Sack, Kevin (2001-09-16). "AFTER THE ATTACKS: MISSED CUES; Saudi May Have Been Suspected in Error, Officials Say". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2005-12-19.
- Fisk, Robert (2004-06-24). "Suicide hijacker' is an airline pilot alive and well in Jeddah". Archived from the original on 2004-06-24.
- "Middle East | Hijack 'suspects' alive and well". BBC News. 2001-09-23. Retrieved 2012-01-06.