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Hamburg university confirms terror suspect studied aircraft engineering
AP Worldstream | September 17, 2001 Monday 2:45 PM Eastern Time | DAVID RISING

Posted on 09/17/2001 2:12:20 PM PDT by Wallaby

Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Hamburg university confirms terror suspect studied aircraft engineering
DAVID RISING; Associated Press Writer
September 17, 2001 Monday 2:45 PM Eastern Time

HAMBURG, Germany
More information has emerged in Germany about two of the suspected hijackers in the terrorist attacks on the United States.

In Lebanon, Jarrah's uncle, Jamal, says his nephew was a secular-minded student who drank alcohol, which is forbidden by Islam.
A Hamburg university said Monday that one of the alleged hijackers studied aircraft engineering there. Ziad Jarrah, who was aboard the United Airlines plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, was a student at the University of Applied Sciences. Jarrah didn't learn how to fly a plane at the Fachhochschule Hamburg, officials said.

"The training here is how to build planes," said Professor Ludwig Schwarz. "You can't learn to be a pilot."

Schwarz taught Jarrah for a semester but, like other teachers at the school, did not remember the student who seems to have kept to himself.

Meanwhile, the University of Bonn said another of the suspected terrorists, Marwan al-Shehhi, identified by the FBI as a hijacker on the United Airlines plane that hit the south tower of the World Trade Center, studied in a German-language program in 1997 and 1998 under the name Marwan Lekrab. He gave the United Arab Emirates as his home country.

Al-Shehhi lived in a Bonn student residence in the first half of 1999, and passed an examination that summer aimed at demonstrating proficiency to apply to a Germany university, the Bonn university said in a statement.

It described al-Shehhi as "a very reserved, orderly person." Police sources said Sunday that investigators were looking into whether he had contacts with students.

The university said that two Islamic groups at the university had never drawn attention through political actions.

German authorities believe Jarrah, al-Shehhi and another suspected hijackers, Mohammed Atta, were part of a terrorist group formed in Hamburg at the beginning of this year to destroy high-profile U.S. targets.

Jarrah, a Lebanese national, was reported missing by his girlfriend in Germany, who was placed under witness protection by police.

German federal investigators say they found a suitcase containing "airplane-related documents" in the girlfriend's apartment in Bochum.

Atta and Al-Shehhi were students at Hamburg's Technical University. All three left Germany last year to take flight lessons in Florida, investigators say.

In Lebanon, Jarrah's uncle, Jamal, says his nephew was a secular-minded student who drank alcohol, which is forbidden by Islam.

Also Monday, the German federal prosecutor's office said it had searched three more apartments - one in Hamburg and two in Bochum - in connection with the investigation.

Spokesman Hartmut Schneider refused to give further details, although he said the action in Bochum Sunday involved "routine searches."

"At the moment, the aim is to clarify how the three suspected terrorists lived," he added.

Federal prosecutors last week presented Hamburg's Technical University with a list of 13 people they are seeking, spokeswoman Frauke-Katrin Scheuten said. She declined to give details.

According to the online service of German news magazine Der Spiegel, one of those sought is Said Bahaji. The 26-year-old German citizen of Moroccan origin helped organize visa and apartments used by the attackers, the magazine said, citing unidentified police sources.

The magazine also has reported that Bahaji's Turkish wife told police that her husband, a computer science student, departed Sept. 2 for an internship at a company in Pakistan.

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events

1 posted on 09/17/2001 2:12:20 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: all
Today’s news on suspects:
2 posted on 09/17/2001 3:07:42 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Boyd, thinden, Nita Nupress, all
3 posted on 09/17/2001 3:33:11 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
A "great post" bump.
4 posted on 09/17/2001 4:01:11 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: Wallaby
Here is the Lebanese article to which the paper refers:

Family: 'impossible' that Lebanese was terrorist

'He enjoyed parties, he even drank alcohol'

Nicholas Blanford
Daily Star staff
'The Daily Star' 9/17/01

Ziad Jarrah was a ruthless and cunning Islamic extremist who hijacked an airliner with the intention of crashing it into a prominent American landmark, according to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has placed him on a list of 19 people suspected of carrying out the world?s worst terrorist atrocity.

But Ziad Jarrah?s family on Sunday painted a very different picture, claiming the 27-year old Lebanese engineering student was a carefree young man who drank alcohol, lived with his girlfriend and never showed any interest in religion or politics.

The FBI believes Jarrah, a Sunni, helped hijack United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 that left Newark, New Jersey, for San Francisco but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing all on board.

However, Jarrah?s grieving family said it was impossible for Ziad to have been the merciless terrorist alleged by the FBI.

?He was a calm, settled person, in love with his girlfriend, who enjoyed parties. He was very eager to return to Lebanon, get married and find a job here,? said Jamal Jarrah, Ziad?s uncle. ?He never joined any political party. He even drank alcohol. He couldn?t have been affected (by religious extremism) in such a short period of time.?

Tearful friends and relatives gathered Sunday at the Jarrah home in al-Marj, sipping tiny cups of coffee and talking into mobile phones to gather the latest information.

Ziad Jarrah?s background in the dusty, sprawling village of al-Marj in the Western Bekaa offers little evidence to suggest that he was an Islamic extremist in the making. Jarrah came from a wealthy, middle-class family living in a large house in al-Marj. He attended Hikmeh, a prominent Christian school in Beirut. He left Lebanon four years ago to study flight engineering in Hamburg, his family said.

Jamal Jarrah, a bank manager, said his nephew began travelling frequently to the United States a year ago, having enrolled in a flying course in Miami.

?He stayed with an American family. They liked him very much and said Ziad was very polite. They were shocked at the news,? Jarrah said.

Ziad was planning to return to Lebanon in a year?s time at the end of his four-year course in Germany to marry his girlfriend and find a job.

He added that the family last heard from Ziad two days before the attacks in New York and Washington, when he confirmed that he had received $2,000 sent by his father. ?He was in very good spirits and was making jokes on the phone,? Jarrah said.

The German authorities said Saturday they had found ?airplane-related documents? in the home of Ziad Jarrah?s girlfriend in the town of Bochum.

German Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm said that Ziad Jarrah often visited Bochum, although he lived and studied in Hamburg, home also to two other suspects both of whom were born in the United Arab Emirates.

Ziad?s German-born Turkish girlfriend has claimed that Jarrah had visited Afghanistan, the refuge of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi dissident who is the chief suspect behind the attacks in the United States. But the claim was denied by the family.

?We would have known if he had gone there. He was always in touch with the family,? said Jamal Jarrah.

The German authorities have been unable to find a link between Ziad Jarrah and bin Laden, adding some credence, perhaps, to the family?s denial.

?Evil? is how Jamal Jarrah described the suicide bombings in the US. ?There is no cause that can justify such a terrible act. We are the same as every other family that lost someone,? he said.

US Ambassador Vincent Battle said Sunday the Jarrah family had telephoned its condolences to the American Embassy. Ziad?s last trip to Lebanon was in February when his father, Samir, was undergoing open-heart surgery.

Jamal Jarrah said the family was still holding out hope that Ziad had not been on the flight.

?Maybe his passport was stolen,? he said. But he admitted that he could not think of a reason why Ziad had not contacted the family if he were still alive.

?We don?t know why he hasn?t telephoned. We are not sleeping. We are waiting for any information,? Jamal said. The government has warned against jumping to ?premature conclusions? over Jarrah?s involvement in the US attacks.

?With regard to the appearance of Ziad Jarrah?s name on the list of suspects, neither the Lebanese government nor its people had anything to do with what happened in the United States,? a statement said. ?Lebanon lost some of its most brilliant sons working in the United States in these attacks, either at the World Trade Center or as passengers aboard the hijacked airplanes.?

At least two Lebanese are known to have died in Tuesday?s attacks in New York City. Several other Lebanese are believed to be missing in the ruins of the two skyscrapers.

['?'s are "quotes" from some foreign papers]

5 posted on 09/17/2001 7:45:49 PM PDT by Boyd
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To: Boyd
I wonder what Jarrah's girlfriend is saying.
6 posted on 09/17/2001 8:42:40 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Boyd
In a country with something like ten different secret polices, one foreign army, and tons of Campbell's alphabet soup, people learn to dissemble.
7 posted on 09/17/2001 9:59:45 PM PDT by a history buff
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