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A closer look at the alleged Sept. 11 conspirators

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Five alleged conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be transferred to the United States for trial in federal court.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 44, is the self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks. The Kuwait-born Pakistani proposed to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden a plot in which aircraft would be used to attack the United States, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. He then coordinated the operation. Mohammed, also known as KSM, was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on March 1, 2003.

Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni who roomed with lead hijacker Mohamed Atta in Hamburg, at first hoped to participate directly in the plot but was repeatedly refused a visa to the United States, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Instead, Binalshibh, 37, shuttled between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Europe, acting as a liaison between Atta and al-Qaeda's leadership, including Mohammed. Binalshibh was captured in Karachi, Pakistan, on the first anniversary of the attacks.

Tawfiq bin Attash, a Yemeni better known as Khallad, was a veteran fighter in Afghanistan, where he lost his lower right leg in a battle in 1997 at age 18. Attash, 30, also applied for a U.S. visa to participate in the plot, but his application was denied, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. He was then designated to take part in a parallel attack in East Asia; that plan was canceled because bin Laden decided it was too difficult to coordinate it with the operation in the United States. Khallad was captured in Karachi on April 29, 2003.

Ammar al-Baluchi, Mohammed's nephew and a Pakistani, is also known as Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali. Baluchi, 32, assisted nine of the hijackers traveling to the United States via the United Arab Emirates, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. He also transferred more than $100,000 to the hijackers in the United States, opened bank accounts for them, and got flight-simulator programs and flight deck videos, according to the report. Ali was captured in Karachi on April 29, 2003.

Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi, worked on al-Qaeda's media committee in Kandahar, Afghanistan. When Baluchi requested assistance in the UAE, Mohammed dispatched Hawsawi to help him, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Hawsawi, 41, helped in the hijackers' travel and facilitated some of the operation's financing, the report said. Hawsawi was captured with Mohammed in Rawalpindi on March 1, 2003.

-- Peter Finn and Julie Tate

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