|Saudi Suspects in U.S. Attacks Were Not in the U.S.
Islam Online | September 17, 2001
RIYADH, Sept 17 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) - U.S. officials in Riyadh offered Abdul Rahman Said al-Omari an official apology in the presence of Saudi interior ministry officials for including his name among the list of suspects in the U.S. terrorist attacks, news agencies reported Monday.
Omari, a pilot with Saudi Airlines, told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that he was amazed to see his name on the FBI's list of suspects allegedly involved in the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center Tuesday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Omari said he returned to Saudi Arabia in early September after undergoing training for one year in the United States, AFP added.
Meanwhile, the mother of another Saudi man, also suspected in the September 11th attacks, said Monday that her son has been in Chechnya for two years with a relief committee operating in the tiny war-torn Muslim republic.
The mother of Ahmad Ibrahim al-Ghamdi told Al-Watan that her son had been studying engineering in the Saudi city of Mecca before departing for Chechnya, AFP reported.
Ibrahim, 20, the youngest child in a family of three sons and four daughters, had been in constant contact with his family from Chechnya, said his mother.
The father of Fayez Mohammad al-Shehri, yet another Saudi suspect, also told the daily that his son had also left for Chechnya two years ago with the relief committee.
"He was going with the relief committee," said Shehri's father, a school headmaster.
Notably, the preliminary lists of confirmed dead of American Airlines flights 11 and 77 and United flight 175, released September 13th by U.K. daily The Guardian, did not include any Arab or Middle Eastern names.
According to The Guardian, some 81 passengers and 11 crew members were on board when American Airlines flight AA11, en route from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
This is the preliminary, partial list of passengers aboard the flight.
Some 58 passengers and six crew members were on board when American Airlines flight AA77, en route from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon, The Guardian reported. Again, no Arabic or Middle Eastern names appear on the list.
Some 56 passengers and nine crewmembers were on board when United flight 175, on route from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, The Guardian reported. No Arabic or Middle Eastern names appear here either.
Meanwhile, an official source at Saudi Airlines announced that Amer Kenfer, a Saudi aviation engineer whose name appeared on the list of passengers on board the United Airlines flight, en route from Boston to Los Angeles, is currently in Saudi Arabia.
Kenfer called Saudi Airlines from his home in Mecca once he heard his name announced as one of the passengers on the United flight, confirming that another passenger must have made use of the fact that foreigners in the U.S. are not asked to show their passports on domestic flights and had in this way used Kenfer's name.
The official Saudi source added that another Saudi suspect whose name was also included on the list of passengers who boarded the same United flight, Amir Bokhari - a Saudi Airlines pilot - had died two years ago during aviation training exercises.