Al-Qaeda Commander Claims Responsibility For 9/11 Attacks

Accuses Pakistan of inflicting more damage on his organisation; Mustafa says al-Qaeda men also attacked Danish embassy in Islamabad

Source: thenews.com.pk

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

KARACHI: Senior al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid has claimed in an exclusive interview with Geo News that Pakistan has damaged the terrorist organisation more than any other country.

The operational chief of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan also said that the recent attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad was conducted by his organisation. He also claimed that al-Qaeda was growing in strength in Afghanistan and would soon occupy the entire country.

He strongly debunked the view that al-Qaeda was actually protecting American interests and said it carried out the 9/11 attacks on the US and that 19 of its supporters launched the devastating attacks. He added that many of his comrades were involved in training the hijackers.

These comments were made in an interview with Najeeb Ahmed that was broadcast on Monday on Geo TV's Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath programme. This was the first detailed interview in five years of a senior al-Qaeda leader.

The 53-year-old Mustafa Abu al-Yazid is also known by the name of Sheikh Saeed. He was born on Dec 17, 1955 in Egypt. In 1981, he was incarcerated for three years in connection with the assassination of the then Egyptian president Anwar Saadat. In 1988, he became a member of al-Qaeda and went to Afghanistan. Later, in 1991, he moved to Sudan where he worked for Osama bin Laden as an accountant. By 1996 he returned to Afghanistan and taken over the responsibility of handling al-Qaeda's finances.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had claimed his organisation's responsibility for Benazir Bhutto's assassination in Dec 2007. In his interview, Al-Yazid said the morale of fighters in Afghanistan is very high and they are putting up a tough fight against US troops. He said the resistance is gathering momentum and has become unstoppable. Listing the attacks launched by al-Qaeda, he took credit for the attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He said the Karzai government would meet the same fate as other 'traitors'. There is no government that supports al-Qaeda as the rulers have sold their faith and by doing so they have put themselves beyond the pale of Islam.

In his view, the government that has damaged the Mujahideen the most is Pakistan's. Pervez Musharraf first inflicted suffering on the Mujahideen of the neighbouring country. He claimed that it was because of the sacrifices of the Mujahideen that Russia was unable to enter Pakistan. Musharraf's men arrested and subjected them to violence and handed them over to the Americans. What is a bigger example of collaboration with the infidels than this? This is a crime that can never be forgotten, he said.

According to him, it was a matter of great honour that his supporters launched an attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad. He congratulated his comrades for successfully executing this mission. He said they had picked a time to attack when there were no innocent Muslims in the vicinity. In any case, there was strict security around the embassy and it was not possible for ordinary Muslims to come near it.

He said many eminent Islamic scholars have justified the practice of suicide bombing. The official Maulvis parrot those Fatwa that they are told to. He said the aim is to engage in direct combat but in many places it is not possible to reach the enemy. He maintained that it is not legitimate to target mosques in this way. He denied al-Qaeda's hand in the attack on Aftab Sherpao in a mosque, saying his supporters never target mosques. A statement to this effect was issued to the Pakistani press soon after the attack. He condemned violence near or inside mosques and said defending the sanctity of such places of worship is every Muslim's duty. He paid tributes to Khalid Sheikh and termed him a fearless person who the Muslim Ummah is proud of. He prayed that God's curse fall on the government that handed him over to the US.

Reuters adds: The suicide bomber who carried out an attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad last month came from Makkah, an al-Qaeda leader said in a rare interview with Geo News.

It was unclear, from what Yazid said, whether the embassy bomber was a Saudi, as many non-Saudis have settled in Makkah, or whether he had been recruited while visiting the city. Yazid said the bomber had come to join a Jihad in held Kashmir or Afghanistan, but became enraged by the publication of blasphemous cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005.

From www.cooperativeresearch.org...

September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002: Identity of 9/11 Financier Constantly Changes
In 2000, the 9/11 hijackers receive money from a man using “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi” and other aliases. On September 8-11, 2001, the hijackers send money to a man in the United Arab Emirates who uses the aliases “Mustafa Ahmed,” “Mustafa Ahmad,” and “Ahamad Mustafa.” Soon the media begins reporting on who this 9/11 “paymaster” is, but his reported names and identities will continually change. The media has sometimes made the obvious connection that the paymaster is Saeed Sheikh—a British financial expert who studied at the London School of Economics, undisputedly sent hijacker Mohamed Atta money the month before the attacks, made frequent trips to Dubai (where the money is sent), and is known to have trained the hijackers. However, the FBI consistently deflects attention to other possible explanations, with a highly confusing series of names vaguely similar to Mustafa Ahmed or Saeed Sheikh:


  • September 24, 2001: Newsweek reports that the paymaster for the 9/11 attacks is someone named “Mustafa Ahmed.” [Newsweek, 10/1/2001] This refers to Mustafa Mahmoud Said Ahmed, an Egyptian al-Qaeda banker who was captured in Tanzania in 1998 then later released. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/28/2001; Newsday, 10/3/2001]
  • October 1, 2001: The Guardian reports that the real name of “Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad” is “Sheikh Saeed.” [Guardian, 10/1/2001] A few days later, CNN confirms from a “senior-level US government source” that this “Sheik Syed” is the British man Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh rescued from an Indian prison in 1999. [CNN, 10/6/2001; CNN, 10/8/2001] However, starting on October 8, the story that ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed ordered Saeed to give Mohamed Atta $100,000 begins to break. References to the 9/11 paymaster being the British Saeed Sheikh (and the connections to the ISI Director) suddenly disappear from the Western media (with one exception [CNN, 10/28/2001] ).
  • October 2001: Other articles continue to use “Mustafa Mohammed Ahmad” or “Shaykh Saiid” with no details of his identity, except for suggestions that he is Egyptian. There are numerous spelling variations and conflicting accounts over which name is the alias. There is an Egyptian al-Qaeda financier leader named Mustafa Abu al-Yazid who uses some variant of Saeed Sheikh as an alias. [Evening Standard, 10/1/2001; BBC, 10/1/2001; Newsday, 10/3/2001; Associated Press, 10/6/2001; Washington Post, 10/7/2001; Sunday Times (London), 10/7/2001; Knight Ridder, 10/9/2001; New York Times, 10/15/2001; Los Angeles Times, 10/20/2001]
  • October 16, 2001: CNN reports that the 9/11 paymaster “Sheik Sayid” is mentioned in a May 2001 trial of al-Qaeda members. However, this turns out to be a Kenyan named Sheik Sayyid el Masry. [Day 7. United States of America v. Usama bin Laden, et al., 2/20/2001; Day 8. United States of America v. Usama bin Laden, et al., 2/21/2001; CNN, 10/16/2001]
  • November 11, 2001: The identity of 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed” is suddenly no longer Egyptian, but is now a Saudi named Sa’d Al-Sharif, who is said to be bin Laden’s brother-in-law. [United Nations, 3/8/2001; Newsweek, 11/11/2001; Associated Press, 12/18/2001]
  • December 11, 2001: The federal indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui calls the 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi a/k/a ‘Mustafa Ahmed,’” and gives him Sa’d’s nationality and birth date. [MSNBC, 12/11/2001] Many articles begin adding “al-Hawsawi” to the Mustafa Ahmed name. [Washington Post, 12/13/2001; Washington Post, 1/7/2002; Los Angeles Times, 1/20/2002]
  • January 23, 2002: As new information is reported in India, the media returns to the British Saeed Sheikh as the 9/11 paymaster. [Los Angeles Times, 1/23/2002; Daily Telegraph, 1/24/2002; Independent, 1/24/2002; Daily Telegraph, 1/27/2002] While his role in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl is revealed on February 6, many articles connect him to 9/11, but many more do not. Coverage of Saeed’s 9/11 connections generally dies out by the time of his trial in July 2002.
  • June 4, 2002: Without explanation, the name “Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif” begins to be used for the 9/11 paymaster, presumably a combination of Saeed Sheikh and S’ad al-Sharif. [Associated Press, 6/5/2002; Independent, 9/15/2002; Associated Press, 9/26/2002; San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/2002] Many of the old names continue to be used, however. [New York Times, 7/10/2002; Time, 8/4/2002; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/2002; Chicago Tribune, 9/5/2002; Knight Ridder, 9/8/2002; Knight Ridder, 9/9/2002; Washington Post, 9/11/2002; Los Angeles Times, 12/24/2002]
  • June 18, 2002: FBI Director Mueller testifies that the money sent in 2000 is sent by someone named “Ali Abdul Aziz Ali” but the money in 2001 is sent by “Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif.” The 9/11 Commission will later identify Aziz Ali as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s nephew and agree with Mueller that he sent the money in 2000. [US Congress, 9/26/2002; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 1]
  • September 4, 2002: Newsweek says “Mustafa Ahmad Adin al-Husawi,” presumably Saudi, is a deputy to the Egyptian “Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif.” However, it adds he “remains almost a total mystery,” and they are unsure of his name. [Newsweek, 9/4/2002]
  • December 26, 2002: US officials now say there is no such person as Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif. Instead, he is probably a composite of three different people: “[Mustafa Ahmed] Al-Hisawi, Shaikh Saiid al-Masri, al-Qaeda’s finance chief, and Saad al-Sharif, bin Laden’s brother-in-law and a midlevel al-Qaeda financier.” [Associated Press, 12/27/2002] Shaikh Saiid al-Masri is likely a reference the Kenyan Sheik Sayyid el Masry. Note that, now, al-Hisawi is the assistant to Shaikh Saiid, a flip from a few months before. Saiid and/or al-Hisawi still haven’t been added to the FBI’s official most wanted lists. [London Times, 12/1/2001; Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2002; Wall Street Journal, 6/17/2002] Despite the confusion, the FBI isn’t even seeking information about them. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2/14/2002] Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi is said to be arrested with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Pakistan in 2003, but no photos of him are released, and witnesses of the supposed arrest did not see al-Hawsawi or Mohammed there (see March 1, 2003). [Reuters, 3/3/2003] A few weeks later, it will be reported that “the man US intelligence officials suspected of being al-Qaeda’s financial mastermind, Sheik Said al-Masri, remains at large.” [Business Week, 3/17/2003]