Friday, October 30, 2009

Said Bahaji's Passport Found in Pakistan

SHERAWANGI (South Waziristan), Oct 29: A prominent member of the so-called Hamburg cell linked with 9/11 attacks was believed to be among senior Al Qaeda leaders involved with the Taliban fighting the Pakistani troops in South Waziristan.

A green German passport belonging to Said Bahaji, a close associate of Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, was among several documents which were found by Pakistani forces in a mud compound in Sherawangi village which was used by Taliban as their command and control base. There were also documents which showed presence of some other European nationals in the area.

The village on a high ridge was captured by troops this week after days of fierce battle.

“They were ferocious fighters and we had to battle hard to capture the village,” said Lt Colonel Inam Rashid, the commanding officer who led the final assault. Some of the militants were killed and many others escaped.

“We do not know whether he (Bahaji) was killed or he has fled,” said one officer.

Mr Bahaji, a German citizen born to a Moroccan father and German mother, had briefly served with German army before coming in contact with Al Qaeda. He shared an apartment in Hamburg with Mohammed Atta and Ramzi bin Al Shibh, the alleged mastermind of 9/11 attacks. It was there that the famous Hamburg cell was born.

The passport shows that Bahaji arrived in Karachi from Istanbul on Sept 4, 2001. A senior Pakistani investigator said he was accompanied by Abdullah Husayni, a Belgian national and Ammar Moula, an Algerian with a French passport. Both were closely linked with Al Qaeda.

There was no indication that Mr Bahaji ever left Pakistan. Pakistani investigators said that he stayed in Karachi in a hotel for several days where he was in contact with Al Qaeda members.
He is believed to have moved to Waziristan some time in 2002.

Read the full report here.

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