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Saeed al-Ghamdi
Born Saeed al-Ghamdi
November 21, 1979(1979-11-21)
al Bahah Province, Saudi Arabia
Died September 11, 2001 (aged 21)
Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Saeed Abdallah Ali Sulayman al-Ghamdi ( Sa‘īd al-Ghāmdī; November 21, 1979 - September 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 in Saudi Arabia, al-Ghamdi left his home to fight in Chechnya after dropping out of college, but was diverted to Afghanistan to train in an Al-Qaeda camp. He arrived in the United States in June 2001. On September 11, 2001, he boarded United Airlines Flight 93 and assisted in the hijacking of the plane, which was crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania by Ziad Jarrah, the pilot among the hijackers, after the passengers attempted to take control of the plane in an uprising.


File:Saeed al-Ghamdi 2.jpg

Saeed al-Ghamdi

Al-Ghamdi was from the al Bahah province of Saudi Arabia, an isolated and underdeveloped area, and shared the same tribal affiliation with fellow hijackers Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, and Ahmed al-Haznawi, although he was not related to either al-Ghamdi. He may have been in contact with the two al-Ghamdis and al-Haznawi as early as 1999.[1] This group is noted as being some of the more religiously observant of the hijackers. Al Ghamdi spent time in al Qasim province, Saudi Arabia where he transferred to college but soon dropped out and ceased contact with his family. While there, he probably associated with the radical Saudi cleric named Sulayman al Alwan as several other future hijackers did.[2]

Saeed later headed to Chechnya to participate in the conflict against the Russians. At this time, Chechen fighters were turning away additional foreigners, many of whom ended up in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to train and await entry to Chechnya. Saeed ended up at the Al Farouq training camp Wikipedia.png, where he met Ahmed al-Nami, and the brothers Wail and Waleed al-Shehri. The four reportedly pledge themselves to Jihad Wikipedia.png in the Spring of 2000, in a ceremony presided over by Wail—who had dubbed himself Abu Mossaeb al-Janubi after one of the Prophet Muhammad's companions.[3]

Saeed was known to Tawfiq bin Attash who is thought to have convinced him to become a martyr. Saeed was at that time working as a security guard at Kandahar airport along with Waleed al-Shehri.[citation needed]

File:Saeed alghamdi in video.jpg

Al-Ghamdi appeared in this al-Qaeda video denouncing the U.S.

Some time late in 2000, Saeed traveled to the United Arab Emirates Wikipedia.png, where he 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, Wail al-Shehri, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Haznawi and Ahmed al-Nami.[citation needed]

On November 13, 2000, another Saeed al-Ghamdi tried to obtain a Visa to enter the United States, but was declined. Although the 9/11 Commission makes mention of him, there is no evidence he was associated with the hijackers.[citation needed]

In March 2001, Saeed was filmed in a farewell video that was later aired on al-Jazeera. In the video, many future 9/11 hijackers swear to become martyrs, although no details of the plot are revealed. Saeed referred to America as "the enemy", and is seen studying maps and flight manuals.[4]

In the U.S.[]

On June 12, 2001 Saeed al-Ghamdi applied for and received a second two-year US B-1/B-2 (tourist/business) visa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His application was submitted by a local travel agency and processed through Visa Express, a controversial US visa program in Saudi Arabia which was discontinued the following year.[5]

Arriving in the U.S. on June 27, 2001 with Fayez Banihammad, Saeed shared an apartment with Ahmed al-Nami in Delray Beach, Florida. Oddly, he listed the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida as his permanent address on his driver's license. He was one of 9 hijackers to open a SunTrust bank account with a cash deposit around June 2001. Saeed occasionally trained on simulators at the FlightSafety Aviation School in Vero Beach, Florida together with Mohand al-Shehri and Abdulaziz al-Omari.

According to al-Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda's documentary Top Secret: The Road to September 11, three weeks prior to the attacks Saeed is believed to have used the name 'Abdul Rahman' to send a message to Ramzi Binalshibh (who was posing as a girlfriend) online, in which he wrote

The first semester commences in three weeks. Two high schools and two universities. ... This summer will surely be hot ...19 certificates for private education and four exams. Regards to the professor. Goodbye. This was said to be a reference to two military targets and two civilian, nineteen hijackers, four planes, and Allah (the professor)

—August 2001.


On September 7, all four of 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 5.[7]


File:Saeed al-GhamdiPass Visa.jpg

Visa page from Saeed Al Ghamdi's Kingdom of Saudi Arabia passport recovered from the United Airlines Flight 93 crash site

On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Ghamdi boarded United Airlines Flight 93 without incident. Due to the flight's delay, the pilot and crew were notified of the previous hijackings that day, and were told to be on the alert. Within minutes, Flight 93 was hijacked as well.

At least two of the cellphone calls made by passengers indicate that all the hijackers they saw were wearing red bandanas. 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.

According to the Cockpit transcript released later, it appeared Saeed may have been at the controls of the flight when it crashed, although the 9/11 commission asserts that Ziad Jarrah was the pilot.

Passengers on the plane heard through phone calls the fates of the other hijacked planes. A passenger uprising resulted in the plane crashing into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing everyone aboard.

Mistaken identity[]

On September 23, 2001, before the FBI had released the pictures of the hijackers, BBC News and The Daily Telegraph reported that a Saudi Airlines pilot named Saeed al-Ghamdi was furious that a name on the hijacker's list released by the FBI matched his own. CNN also mistakenly showed a picture of the "living" Al-Ghamdi as the hijacker. The man claimed CNN likely got his picture from a Flight Safety flying school in Florida he attended.[8][9] Der Spiegel later investigated the claims of "living" hijackers by the BBC and discovered them to be cases of mistaken identities.[10]

According to immigration records in the Philippines, someone named Saeed al-Ghamdi visited that country on at least 15 occasions in 2001, entering as a tourist. The last visit ended on August 6. This may have been a different person with the same name, as no other information is available.[citation needed]

In June 2005 the Saudi government released a list (see al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Wikipedia.png) of 36 wanted (and alive) terrorists, one of whom was Salih Sa'id Al Batih al-Ghamdi. 9/11 conspiracy theorists quickly confused him with the hijacker Saeed al-Ghamdi.[11]


Main article: Saeed al-Ghamdi:Timeline