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Moussaoui says was to be part of Sept 11 attacks

Written by: Staff
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ALEXANDRIA, Va., Mar 27 (Reuters) Zacarias Moussaoui said today said he was supposed to fly a fifth airplane into the White House as part of the September 11 plot and he knew that two planes were to fly into the World Trade Center in New York.

Taking the stand at his death penalty trial, Moussaoui -- the only person charged in the United States in connection with the September 11 attacks -- said ''shoebomber'' Richard Reid was to join him as part of the crew in the suicide mission.

Reid failed in attempt to blow up an American Airlines plane from Paris to Miami in December 2001 after passengers and crew tackled him as he tried to ignite explosives in his shoe. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2003.

Moussaoui's claim contradicted what he said last year in pleading guilty, that he was not supposed to be part of the September 11 hijackings but was meant to be in a second wave of attacks and fly an airplane into the White House.

Moussaoui said he did not know the precise date of the planned attacks when he was arrested in Minnesota on August 16, 2001, and had only scant details of the overall plan.

''I had knowledge that the two towers would be hit but I didn't have the detail,'' Moussaoui said.

Moussaoui is on trial now to determine if he will be executed.

Asked by Gerald Zerkin, one of his court-appointed attorneys, if he was meant to be part of the September 11 attacks, Moussaoui said: ''I was supposed to pilot a plane to hit the White House.'' Moussaoui, who appeared very calm and spoke in a matter of fact manner, said he was asked in 1999 if he wanted to be a suicide pilot in an attack on the United States but he initially declined.

He agreed to take part in the plan in 2000 after having a dream, which he talked about with Osama bin Laden.

Moussaoui said he had not seen any of the other hijackers in the United States.

REUTERS SI RS2346

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