Tags: FBI: | Hijackers | Airliners

FBI: 18 Hijackers on Airliners

Thursday, 13 September 2001 12:00 AM

Mueller said he could not give an accurate count of how many accomplices, or "associates," the hijackers had on the ground.

Appearing at a news conference in the FBI, Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to detail the hijackers' countries of origin. However, there were indications that the Justice Department might be prepared to release a list of the hijackers later Thursday.

Ashcroft also refused to speculate on whether the hijackers and their accomplices could be tied to renegade millionaire Osama bin Laden, who has been stripped of his Saudi citizenship and is hiding out in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is already charged in the United States with planning the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Thursday, Ashcroft would not address the bin Laden question.

"I'm not prepared to identify or comment on persons ultimately responsible at this time," he said.

The FBI director and the attorney general also refused to say how many persons have been detained on immigration charges as U.S. agents interview people who might have knowledge of the hijackers. Justice Department officials said later there still have been no formal charges in the probe.

Mueller gave the following breakdown on the hijackers:

On Tuesday morning, American Airlines flight 11 departed Boston for Los Angeles, was hijacked by five suspects armed with knives, and was deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.

United Airlines flight 175 departed Boston for Los Angeles, was hijacked by five suspects and crashed into the World Trade Center.

American Airlines flight 77 departed Washington Dulles for Los Angeles, was hijacked by four suspects and crashed into the Pentagon.

United Airlines flight 93 departed Newark for San Francisco, was hijacked four suspects and crashed in Shanksville, Pa. The Justice Department officials said they did not know how many of the hijackers were pilots. All of the pilots are believed to have been trained in the United States, and the FBI has identified the training schools.

On another matter, Ashcroft said he was ordered by President Bush Thursday morning to streamline the process of applications under the Public Safety Officers Benefits Act.

Under the act, the families of police officers, firefighters and other emergency response personnel can receive $150,000 from the federal government if the public safety employee was killed in the line of duty.

Hundreds of firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel are believed missing in the collapse of a World Trade Center tower Tuesday.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Mueller said he could not give an accurate count of how many accomplices, or associates, the hijackers had on the ground. Appearing at a news conference in the FBI, Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to detail the hijackers' countries of origin. However,...
FBI:,Hijackers,Airliners
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2001-00-13
Thursday, 13 September 2001 12:00 AM
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