Salem al Hazmi

Salem al Hazmi was one of the “muscle hijackers” on board American Airlines Flight 77, flown into the Pentagon as the third of the four 9/11 plane hijackings.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 3-5, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. As a muscle hijacker, Hazmi helped to storm the cockpit and keep passengers under control so that the hijacker-pilot could take control of the plane.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 227, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

Hazmi was born in 1981 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His father described him as a rebellious teenager who drank alcohol and committed petty theft.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 233-234, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. In late 1999, Hazmi suddenly stopped drinking and began attending mosque before leaving his family roughly three months later.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 234, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Although little is known about Hazmi’s teenage years, many of the 9/11 hijackers travelled to Afghanistan in 1999 after failing to reach Chechnya to wage jihad against Russian forces.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 231-234, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. While some reports note Hazmi’s involvement in Chechnya’s jihad, the 9/11 Commission Report did not find evidence to substantiate those claims.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 231-234, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

Salem al Hazmi’s older brother, fellow hijacker Nawaf al Hazmi, is believed to have played a key role in Salem’s recruitment into al-Qaeda. The 9/11 Commission Report suggests that Nawaf may have recommended Salem for recruitment into al-Qaeda, even pleading with Osama bin Laden to allow him to participate in the attacks.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 232, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. When Salem reached Afghanistan, he began training at al-Qaeda camps and listening to bin Laden speeches.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 233, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. He swore loyalty to bin Laden, volunteered to become a martyr, and was eventually hand-selected by bin Laden to serve as a muscle hijacker for the 9/11 operation.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 234, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

Sometime between summer of 2000 and April 2001, Salem al Hazmi and the other al-Qaeda operatives were sent to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) to begin training and film a martyrdom video to be released by al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 235, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. After receiving training at the al-Qaeda-run al-Faruq camp, Hazmi and many of the other Saudi recruits were sent to Kandahar airport, where they were tasked with providing extra security for the Taliban.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 233-234, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

Sometime in mid-2000, KSM sent Hazmi to Saudi Arabia to obtain a U.S. visa, which he received from the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah on June 20, 2000.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 235, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. After obtaining his visa, Hazmi was given about $2,000 and told to return to Afghanistan for additional training.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.):235-236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Hazmi and the other muscle hijackers returned to Afghanistan in late 2000 to receive training at the al-Qaeda run al-Matar complex under the supervision of Abu Turab al-Jordani, one of the small number of individuals who knew the full details of the planned attacks.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 235-236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. There, Hazmi learned how to conduct hijackings, disarm air marshals, and handle explosives. He also trained in bodybuilding and picked up a few English words and phrases.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

According to KSM, Hazmi and the other muscle hijackers did not learn the full details of the attack—including the plan to hijack planes and crash them into buildings—before reaching the United States. After finishing training in Afghanistan, Hazmi travelled to Karachi and stayed in an al-Qaeda safe house for a few weeks.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Before leaving Pakistan in the spring of 2001, KSM had provided Hazmi with $10,000 to cover future expenses.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

Sometime in the spring of 2001, Hazmi travelled to the United States after stopping off in Dubai, where he received assistance from al-Qaeda operatives Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa al-Hawsawi.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. These two al-Qaeda operatives helped Hazmi acquire plane tickets, traveler’s checks, and hotel reservations. The operatives also taught him about everyday aspects of life in the United States.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 236, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

On June, 29, 2001, Hazmi arrived in the United States and stayed in al-Qaeda’s New Jersey apartment with his brother Nawaf and fellow 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 252, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. In early September 2001, Hazmi and the other hijackers targeting American Airlines Flight 77 travelled from New Jersey to Laurel, Maryland, staying in a local motel and working out at the gym in preparation for the attacks.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 252, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. On the final night before the attack, the team stayed at a hotel in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington Dulles airport.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 253, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

On the morning of September 11, Salem al-Hazmi and the other hijackers travelled to Washington Dulles International Airport.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 3, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. At around 7:30 a.m., the Hazmi brothers and Hanjour approached the American Airlines ticket counter for Flight 77, bound for Los Angeles.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 3, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. The brothers were flagged for extra screening but managed to make it through security.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 3, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Once aboard the plane, the Hazmi brothers took their seats in the first-class cabin.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 3, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at approximately 530 miles per hour, instantly killing everyone on board and an unknown number of people in the building.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 10, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. The 9/11 attacks—including attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the thwarted attack headed for the White House or Capitol—left nearly 3,000 people dead in the single deadliest attack in U.S. history.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 7, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

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