Tags: 911 | recruiter | Syria

Report: 9/11 Hijack Terror Recruiter Freed in Syria

By Joel Himelfarb   |   Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 06:13 PM

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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