Saudi Arabia may have possible role in 9/11, reports US media
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Saudi Arabia may have possible role in 9/11, reports US media

THE Saudi Arabia embassy in Washington, DC may have funded a “dry run” for the Sept 11 attacks in 2001, documents from a major 9/11 lawsuit against the Saudi government allege, according to an article on New York Post last Saturday.

The evidence of the “dry run” – where the embassy allegedly paid for two Saudi nationals to fly from Phoenix to Washington and test out flight deck security two years before the hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center – came from a class action lawsuit by families of around 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks.

“We’ve long asserted that there were longstanding and close relationships between al Qaeda and the religious components of the Saudi government,” said Sean Carter, the lead attorney for the 9/11 plaintiffs. “This is further evidence of that.”

The Saudi government has consistently denied any involvement with the terrorist acts on Sept 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks by planes hijacked by 19 al Qaeda terrorists that hit the World Trade Centre in New York, the Pentagon in Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania.

However, the victims’ lawyers said the new evidence that the said Saudi embassy helped fund the two Saudi nationals living undercover in the US as students suggest “a pattern of both financial and operational support” for the 9/11 attacks from official Saudi sources.

The FBI also confirmed that the Saudi embassy in Washington paid for the two students’ airline tickets for the 9/11 dry run.

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According to the New York Post, the two students – Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalaw – had trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan at the same time as some of the hijackers. The filings also said they were both employees of the Saudi government and were in “frequent contact” with Saudi officials while in the US.

Both students were also handcuffed by police and interrogated by the FBI after one incident in November 1999 aboard an America West flight to Washington where they displayed aggressive acts and attempted to get into the cockpit. The FBI did not proceed to prosecute them.

Waleed Nassar, a lawyer representing two Saudi charities that are co-defendants with Saudi Arabia in the litigation dismissed the evidence submitted as “innuendo and circumstantial”. Lawyers representing Riyadh have also filed motions to dismiss the claims.

“The plaintiff’s burden is to show something more direct, and that’s really the only hope they have to have Saudi Arabia remain in the litigation,” Nassar said to Al Jazeera.