Thursday, November 25, 2004

Fiancée of 9-11 Hijacker Sat in Cockpit of Simulator As He Learned to Fly

The former fiancée of Ziad Jarrah, a September 11, 2001 hijacker who crashed an airliner into a Pennsylvania field, testified to a German court on Wednesday. Her testimony came in the trial of Mounir al-Motassedeq, a Morrocan student accused of helping to plot the 9/11 attacks. According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the woman visited Jarrah in the United States in January 2001
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("Former fiancée tells how she sat in simulator with 9-11 pilot," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, November 24, 2001). At the time, Jarrah was enrolled in a flying course, and had his fiancée sit with him in the cockpit of the flight simulator as he learned to handle the controls of the airliner. "Ziad didn't want me to tell anyone that he was learning to fly," she said.

Jarrah's former fiancée described how he had changed after moving from provincial Greifswald

"Ziad didn't want me to tell anyone that he was learning to fly."
to Hamburg and making acquaintance with a group dominated by Mohammed Atta. "When I first met Ziad in 1996," she recalled, "he was pretty easy-going." Subsequently, Jarrah decided to undergo pilot training, in spring 2000, after an unexplained absence of several months. Investigators claim that those months were spent by Jarrah in Afghanistan, where he underwent military training in an al-Qaeda camp. On his return, he would not tell his fiancée where he had been, but said it was better that she not know. Motassedeq phoned her once during Jarrah's absence, ostensibly to see if she was all right.

Motassedeq was sentenced in 2003 to fifteen years imprisonment for his role within the al-Qaeda group and for helping to plot the 3,000 murders of September 11, 2001. The verdict was quashed by an appeals court, which then directed a retrial.

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|| headland, 12:49 AM

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