Jerusalem, Feb 4: Osama bin Laden got inspiration for the deadly 9/11 attacks from a 1999 plane crash in which an Egyptian airline pilot deliberately downed his plane in the Atlantic Ocean, the al-Qaeda has claimed.
In an article titled 'September 11 attacks - the story untold' published in its weekly magazine al-Masrah, the al-Qaeda said the inspiration for the September 11 attacks was the story of Gamil al-Batouti, the Egyptian co-pilot, who deliberately crashed EgyptAir flight from Los Angeles to Cairo, killing 217 people, including 100 Americans.
According to al-Masrah, when the then al-Qaeda chief Osama heard about the Egyptian plane crash, he asked, "Why didn't he crash it into a nearby building?", pronouncing the idea of targeting buildings, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Al-Batouti had deliberately downed the plane. Despite speculation over terrorism, his family and friends said he had no strong beliefs and reports stated that it may have been suicide or revenge against EgyptAir following disciplinary action.
Osama was apparently less interested in the motive than in how the disaster could be developed into a deadly new strategy. When Osama met with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was identified as "the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks" by the 9/11 Commission Report, the latter presented him with an additional idea -- crashing American airplanes, the report said.
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Before presenting his idea to Osama, Sheikh Mohammed started working on a plan to crash 12 American airplanes at once. And so, the final plan implemented by al-Qaeda was a combination of Sheikh Mohammed's and Osama's ideas -- crashing American airplanes into the buildings of the World Trade Center, it said. Al-Masra is released by Ansar al-Sharia, which is an alias for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).