Twelve attackers identified, 50 suspected
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 13/09/2001 at 06:34 GMT
If there's any good news here, it's that those on a suicide mission
have little motive to cover their tracks. Indeed, most of the hijackers
involved in Tuesday's suicide attacks in New York and Washington
were hiding in plain sight and so left considerable evidence behind,
including credit card records and suicide notes.
Thus a paper trail has led US law enforcement to identify at least
twelve of the hijackers with certainty. It's hoped that this information
will soon lead investigators to their surviving accomplices.
The first break came when a rented car parked at Boston's Logan
Airport was found to contain an Arabic-language flight manual and a
document bearing the name of a passenger on another of the
This and succeeding evidence led Boston police to two adjacent
rooms in a downtown hotel Wednesday, where they were surprised
to find one of the rooms occupied by three people who have since
been detained for questioning.
Several of the suspected hijackers have been traced to a flight
schools in Florida, including Huffman Aviation in Venice,
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, and
FlightSafety in Vero Beach.
Following information from the airlines, INS and other sources,
authorities have executed search warrants in Massachusetts,
Florida and New Jersey. It's now believed that up to fifty people were
involved in the operation. Roughly forty of the conspirators have
been tentatively identified at this time.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer claimed Wednesday
that the hijackers who struck the Pentagon had meant to hit the
White House. But US Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to
confirm that Wednesday evening, saying only that one of the planes
was earmarked to strike the White House, and leaving open the
possibility that the fourth plane, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania,
might have been the one so designated.
There has been speculation that the plane which went down in
Pennsylvania was shot down by US Air Force fighters scrambled to
track it. There is, however, evidence that the passengers of that
plane turned on the hijackers, raising the possibility they in turn took
action to crash it rather than be captured. � TheRegister.co.uk