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September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack/Hijackers

The Hijacking

American Airlines flight 11 is crashed into the north side of the northern tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM EDT (Accounts of the attack have given times that range from 8:45 to 8:48 AM EDT). A member of the flight crew pressed a switch that permitted air traffic controllers to overhear at 8:28 AM EDT: "Don't do anything foolish. You are not going to get hurt. We have more planes. We have other planes."

A passenger on United Airlines flight 175, Peter Hanson, called his father from the plane reporting that hijackers were stabbing flight attendants in order to force the crew to open the cockpit doors. At 9:03 AM EDT, the plane is crashed into the south side of the southern tower of the World Trade Center.

On American Airlines flight 77, Barbara K. Olson called her husband, United States Solicitor General Theodore Olson at the Justice Department at 9:25 from the plane to tell him about the hijacking and to report that the passengers and pilots were held in the back of the plane. It is crashed into the western side of The Pentagon at 9:37 AM EDT, starting a violent fire.

On United Airlines flight 93, a passenger reached officials on his cell phone from the plane's rest room, repeatedly saying that the plane was hijacked and that the call was not a hoax. Passengers speaking on cell phones had learned about the World Trade Center crashes and were planning on resisting the hijackers. One passenger told his wife that one person had already been stabbed to death by the hijackers. There is speculation that the passengers' resistance led to the plane crashing before it reached its intended target. At 10:10 AM EDT (other accounts say 10:03 AM EDT and 10:06 AM EDT), the plane crashed southeast of Pittsburgh , near Shanksville in Somerset county, Pennsylvania.

The Hijackers

There were 19 hijackers in all; five on three of the flights, four on one.

U.S. authorities believe that the hijackers were in two groups--six core organizers, who included the four pilots and two others, and the remaining 13, who came to the United States later, in pairs in the spring and summer of 2001 via the UAE.

The six organizers were the pilots--Mohammed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Ziad Jarrah, and Hani Hanjour--and Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi.

Several of the terrorist hijackers appeared to be traveling with false passports, assuming the identities of other people. Saudis Saeed Alghamdi, Abdulaziz Alomari, and Waleed M. Alshehri, whose photographs have appeared on CNN and other media outlets, have spoken to Saudi newspapers since the attack.

Their profiles do not seem to match that of past suicide terrorists (young, poor, uneducated and indoctrinated): many were in their late twenties and thirties, most with college educations, and had lived for prolonged periods of time in western countries. 15 came from Saudi Arabia. The remaining four came from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

There have been variations in the spelling of the names of the alleged hijackers in differing accounts of the attacks- one good example being the Alshehris from Flight 11. This is because there is no one correct way of translating from Arabic script to English letters.

Network Map (http://www.orgnet.com/hijackers) of how hijackers were connected to each other and color-coded by their flight.

The hijackers aboard American Airlines flight 11 used the names

Mohammad Atta is believed to have flown Flight 11 into the North Tower.

Aboard United Airlines flight 175 the hijackers used the names

Marwan Alshehhi is believed to have flown Flight 175 into the South Tower.

The hijackers aboard American Airlines flight 77 used the names

Hani Hanjour is believed to have flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

The hijackers aboard United Airlines flight 93 used the names

Ziad Jarrah is believed to have been at the controls when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.

see also Ramzi Binalshibh

September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack - Full Timeline
In Memoriam - Casualties - Missing Persons - Survivors - Personal experiences
Donations - Assistance - Closings and Cancellations - Memorials and Services
US Governmental Response - Responsibility - Hijackers - Political effects - Economic effects

See also: "War on Terrorism" -- U.S. invasion of Afghanistan -- 2001 anthrax attack -- World Trade Center -- The Pentagon -- New York City -- Washington, D.C. -- AA Flight 11 -- UA Flight 175 -- AA Flight 77 -- UA Flight 93 -- U.S. Department of Defense -- terrorism -- domestic terrorism -- Osama bin Laden -- Taliban -- Islamism -- Afghanistan -- collective trauma -- September 11


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