News |  Money |  Travel |  Argument |  Advancement |  Enjoyment

Upgrade your browser for an improved site: Internet Explorer · Netscape

Independent >  News  > World  > Middle East

'Suicide hijacker' is an airline pilot alive and well in Jeddah


By Robert Fisk in Beirut

17 September 2001

A man named by the US Department of Justice as a suicide hijacker of American Airlines flight 11 ­ the first airliner to smash into the World Trade Centre ­ is very much alive and living in Jeddah.

Abdulrahman al-Omari, a pilot with Saudi Airlines, was astonished to find himself accused of hijacking ­ as well as being dead ­ and has visited the US consulate in Jeddah to demand an explanation.

None has so far been forthcoming. It is possible that the hijacker adopted Mr al-Omari's identity but, if he had been using the same false name while training as a pilot in the US, he would presumably have been uncovered.

That is not the only error on the list of hijackers. The name of Ziad Jarrah ­ identified as the pilot-hijacker of United Airlines flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania ­ was misspelt "Jarrahi". He was a Lebanese whose family, living in the Bekaa Valley, spoke to him just two days before his death but who still refuse to believe that he was involved.

Mr al-Omari's first name ­ Abdulrahman ­ was later given out by the US authorities as "Abdulaziz" but there can be little doubt that it referred to the pilot who lives in Jeddah. The Americans described him as a father of four and Mr al-Omari does have four children, all of whom live with him and his family in Saudi Arabia's second city. He has refused to talk to reporters and ­ in the words of one prominent Saudi journalist ­ "is one nervous guy".

Also in Middle East

Israeli troops move into Palestinian section of Hebron
Sharon appeals to America not to 'appease' Arabs
Guman kills two Israelis in bus station attack
Russian passenger jet crashes in Black Sea after mid-air explosion
Israel freezes truce contacts after retaliating for Palestinian attack

Legal |  Contact us |  Using our Content |  2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd