Americans lay flowers in memory of the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago in New York – Photo: REUTERS
Documents from 2016 that were declassified by the FBI and released on September 11 reveal how the two hijackers in the incident received support.
This is an investigation document related to the attack that was released after US President Joe Biden declassified related documents. More documents are expected to be published in the next 6 months.
The document is largely based on interviews in 2009 and 2015 with a person who was applying for US citizenship and had previous contact with Saudi nationals believed to have provided logistical support to the hijackers. .
Accordingly, the FBI suspects Omar al-Bayoumi, a former Saudi student in Los Angeles, is an intelligence officer and has a high position in the Saudi consulate. This person provided “travel, accommodation and financial support” to help the two hijackers.
Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, two hijackers belonging to the terrorist group al Qaeda, after arriving in California, USA, are said to have met Bayoumi at a restaurant in February 2000 and helped find an apartment in San Diego.
“Bayoumi helped Hamzi and Midha with translation, transportation, accommodation and finance,” the document reads. The interviewed source’s wife also heard Bayoumi talk about “jihad” several times.
According to the document, the US investigated a number of Saudi diplomats and people connected to the Saudi government who knew about the hijackers when they arrived in the US.
However, the report found no evidence that the Saudi government directly funded al Qaeda, nor did it leave open the possibility that a consular official from the Gulf state was involved. Still, the report suggested it was “possibly” Saudi government-funded charities were involved.
The content of the declassified document is probably not what those who filed the lawsuit against the Saudi government in the US expected. Families of some 2,500 victims killed and more than 20,000 injured in a terrorist attack 20 years ago, businesses and insurance companies have sued Saudi Arabia for billions of dollars in compensation.
Previously, more than 1,600 people affected by terrorist attacks 20 years ago sent a letter asking the White House President not to come to the Ground Zero area, New York City, to attend the 20th anniversary of the attack. if the information is not disclosed.
Saudi Arabia has always denied involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Earlier, on September 1, the Saudi Embassy in Washington said it welcomed the release of the FBI documents on the terrorist cases, but affirmed that “all allegations that Saudi Arabia were complicit in the 9/11 attacks are completely untrue.”