Terrorist Profile: Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Nami “911”

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Nami, also transliterated (Alnami or al-Nawi) a former law student and muezzin, (December 13, 1977September 11, 2001) was named by the FBI as one of the hijackers of United Airlines flight 93 as part of the September 11 attacks.


Born to the Quraish tribe of Saudi Arabia, al-Nami served as a muezzin at the Seqeley mosque after having reportedly become very religious sometime in early 1999. That autumn he enrolled in the King Khaled University at Abha to study Sharia, he left his family home in Khamis Mushayt in the summer of 2000 to complete the Hajj, but never returned – instead travelling to the Al Farouq training camp in Afghanistan where he met and befriended Waleed and Wail al-Shehri, two brothers from Khamis Mushayt, and Saeed Alghamdi. The four reportedly pledged themselves to Jihad in the Spring of 2000, in a ceremony presided over by Wail – who had dubbed himself Abu Mossaeb al-Janubi after one of Muhammad‘s companions. Dubbed “Abu Hashim”, al-Nami was considered “gentle in manner” by his colleagues, and reported that he had a dream in which he rode a mare along with Muhammad, and that the prophet told him to dismount and fight his enemies to liberate his land.

During his time at al-Farooq, there is a curious mention under Mushabib al-Hamlan‘s details that al-Nami had recently had laser eye surgery, an uncited fact that does not reappear.

By October he had taken a prospective hijacker Mushabib al-Hamlan from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia where they both procured B-1/B-2 Visas on October 28 – but al-Hamlan then decided not to proceed and is thought to have returned to his family. Al-Nami’s Visa application has since been reviewed, and while he mentioned that Mushabib will be travelling with him, he listed his occupation as student but failed to provide an address for his school, and listed his intended address in the United States merely as Los Angeles – in the end he never used this Visa to enter the United States, and reported his passport (C115007, which showed evidence of travel to Afghanistan) as “lost”, and procured a new one from Jeddah (C505363). He used the new passport to acquire a new Visa on April 23, again recopying his answers from previously although crossing out the lines regarding Mushabib and previous attempts to acquire a Visa. He was interviewed by a consular officer, who again approved his application. Records at the time only recorded past failures to procure a Visa, so the officer had no way of realising that al-Nami had successfully received an earlier Visa.

In mid-November 2000, the 9/11 Commission believes that al-Nami, Wail and Waleed al-Shehri, 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 where they could travel through to Afghanistan without getting their passports stamped. This probably followed their return to Saudi Arabia to get “clean” passports. An associate of a senior Hezbollah operative is thought to have been on the same flight, although this may have been a coincidence.

While in the United Arab Emirates, al-Nami purchased traveler’s cheques presumed to have been paid for by Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi. Five other hijackers also passed through the UAE and purchased travellers cheques, including Majed Moqed, Saeed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi, Ahmed al-Haznawi and Wail Alshehri.


al-Nami in Video

In March 2001, Ahmed al-Nami appeared in an Al Qaeda farewell video showing 13 of the muscle hijackers before they left their training centre in Kandahar; while he does not speak, he is seen studying maps and flight manuals.

On April 23rd al-Nami was recorded obtaining a new US Visa.

On May 28, 2001, al-Nami arrived in the United States from Dubai with fellow-hijackers Mohand al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi. By early June, Al-Nami was living in apartment 1504 at the Delray Racquet Club condominiums with Saeed al-Ghamdi in Delray Beach, Florida. He telephoned his family in ‘Asir shortly after arriving in the country.

In June, he phoned his family for the last time.

He was one of 9 hijackers to open a SunTrust bank account with a cash deposit around June 2001, and on June 29 received either a Florida State Identification Card or Drivers License.

He may have been one of three hijackers that listed the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida as their permanent address on drivers’ licenses, though other sources claim he listed the Delray condominium.

On August 28th, al-Nami and Ahmed al-Haznawi reportedly bothered a Delray Beach resident, Maria Siscar Simpson, to let them through her apartment to retrieve a towel that had fallen off their balcony onto hers.

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On September 7th, all four Flight 93 hijackers flew from Fort Lauderdale to Newark International Airport aboard Spirit Airlines. Jarrah and al-Haznawi both received their one-way tickets on September 5th.

The Attack

On September 5th, al-Nami and Saeed al-Ghamdi purchase tickets for a September 7 flight to Newark at the Mile High Travel on Commercial Boulevard – paying cash for their tickets. Ziad Jarrah and Ahmad al-Haznawi also purchase tickets for the same flight though from Passage Tours.

On September 11, al-Nami arrived in Newark to board United Airlines Flight 93 along with Saeed al-Ghamdi, Ahmad al-Haznawi and Ziad Jarrah – some reports suggest al-Haznawi was pulled aside for screening while others claim there is no record of whether any of the four were screened; the lack of CCTV cameras at the time has compounded the problem. al-Haznawi and one of the other three checked bags, and they boarded the plane between 7:39am and 7:48am – al-Nami seated in First Class 3C, next to al-Ghamdi.

Due to the flight’s routine delay, the pilot and crew were notified of the previous hijackings and were told to be on the alert, though within two minutes Jarrah had stormed the cockpit leaving the pilots dead or injured.

At least two of the cellphone calls made by passengers indicate that all the hijackers they saw were wearing red bandanas, which some have questioned may have signified an allegiance to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The calls also indicated that one of the men had tied a box around his torso, and claimed there was a bomb inside – it is not known which hijacker this was.

Passengers on the plane heard through phone calls the fates of the other hijacked planes, and organized a brief assault to retake the cockpit – it is believed the hijackers crashed the plane into the Pennsylvania farmland rather than cede control of the plane. All aboard died.


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