his intended address as the Marriott Hotel, New York City, but instead spent
one night at another New York hotel. He then joined the group of hijackers
in Paterson, reuniting with Nawaf al Hazmi after more than a year.With two
months remaining, all 19 hijackers were in the United States and ready to take
the final steps toward carrying out the attacks.
Assistance from Hezbollah and Iran to al Qaeda
As we mentioned in chapter 2, while in Sudan, senior managers in al Qaeda
maintained contacts with Iran and the Iranian-supported worldwide terrorist
organization Hezbollah, which is based mainly in southern Lebanon and
Beirut. Al Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah.
Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security
officials and senior al Qaeda figures after Bin Ladin's return to Afghanistan.
Khallad has said that Iran made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with
al Qaeda after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, but was rebuffed
because Bin Ladin did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia. Khal-
lad and other detainees have described the willingness of Iranian officials to
facilitate the travel of al Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from
Afghanistan. For example, Iranian border inspectors would be told not to place
telltale stamps in the passports of these travelers. Such arrangements were par-
ticularly beneficial to Saudi members of al Qaeda.
Our knowledge of the international travels of the al Qaeda operatives
selected for the 9/11 operation remains fragmentary. But we now have evi-
dence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi "muscle" operatives traveled into
or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.
In October 2000, a senior operative of Hezbollah visited Saudi Arabia to
coordinate activities there. He also planned to assist individuals in Saudi Ara-
bia in traveling to Iran during November. A top Hezbollah commander and
Saudi Hezbollah contacts were involved.
Also in October 2000, two future muscle hijackers, Mohand al Shehri and
Hamza al Ghamdi, flew from Iran to Kuwait. In November, Ahmed al Ghamdi
apparently flew to Beirut, traveling--perhaps by coincidence--on the same
flight as a senior Hezbollah operative.Also in November, Salem al Hazmi appar-
ently flew from Saudi Arabia to Beirut.
In mid-November, we believe, three of the future muscle hijackers,Wail al
Shehri,Waleed al Shehri, and Ahmed al Nami, all of whom had obtained their
U.S. visas in late October, traveled in a group from Saudi Arabia to Beirut and
then onward to Iran. An associate of a senior Hezbollah operative was on the
same flight that took the future hijackers to Iran. Hezbollah officials in Beirut
and Iran were expecting the arrival of a group during the same time period.
The travel of this group was important enough to merit the attention of sen-
ior figures in Hezbollah.
Later in November, two future muscle hijackers, Satam al Suqami and Majed
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT
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