Mohamed Haydar Zammar – the al-Qaida recruiter believed to have organized the Germany-based terror cell which carried out the 9/11 attacks – has been freed in a prisoner exchange between Syrian rebel forces and President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Relatives in Germany told media outlets including the daily newspaper Die Suddeutsche Zeitung that Zammar had been released in a prisoner swap last fall, Al-Monitor reported
Born in Aleppo, Zammar emigrated to Germany as a child and became a naturalized citizen in 1982. During the 1980s and 1990s, he became increasingly involved in jihadist activities in Germany.
Both the September 11 Commission report
and the "Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11"
published by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees point to Zammar as a recruiter for the Hamburg-based terror cell that carried out 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
In 1991, he fought alongside jihadist forces in Afghanistan and four years later traveled to Bosnia. Between 1995 and 2000 he returned several times to Afghanistan. The Long War Journal’s Thomas Joscelyn observes
that according to the Joint Inquiry report, by mid-1999, U.S. officials learned that Zammar “was in direct contact with one of Bin Laden’s senior operational coordinators.”
The report added that after September 11, U.S. counterterrorism officials discovered that Zammar had recruited three of the four hijack pilots “and encouraged their participation in the September 11 attack.”
According to the 9/11 Commission, Zammar recruited Ramzi Binalshibh, point man for the terror operation.
Zammar was arrested in Morocco in late 2001. But unlike other terror suspects who were transferred into U.S. custody, he was turned over to Syria and imprisoned without trial by the Assad regime.
In 2007, Zammar was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood. He was about halfway through that sentence in September when he was exchanged for Syrian Army officers captured by jihadists.
It is unclear where Zammar is today or if he has returned to the battlefield. His family claims he is in his native Aleppo – Syria’s largest city and one of the most violent areas
of the country today.
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