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Were Al Qaeda pilots who attacked 9/11 world trade centre lovers?

Twenty years after 9/11, a shocking report by the Newsweek reveals that the first two pilots Mohammad Atta and Marwan al Shehhi struck both towers of the World Trade Centre may have been lovers (Pic Courtesy britannica.com)

Twenty years after 9/11, a shocking report by the Newsweek reveals that the first two pilots Mohammad Atta and Marwan al Shehhi who hijacked  American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 respectively and struck both towers of  the World Trade Centre within 15 minutes of each other, may have been lovers.

According to the report based on several interrogations and other intelligence reports, the second tower known as the South Tower of the World Trade Centre was never a target that Al-Qaeda planned to hit. It was the White House that was on the target list and Marwan al Shehhi was tasked to do.  But the two pilots decided to hit both the towers and die together.

A Pakistani mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), one of the plotters of the conspiracy, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay told his interrogators that these two pilots were  unusually close and "different," using this to explain why they defied Al Qaeda instructions. On more than one occasion, Khalid used to call  them "homos," a slang  used for "homosexual," or “gay” which is strictly forbidden in Islam. In Islamic terror groups such as  Taliban and Al-Qaeda, it is punishable by death, that too by stoning. 

The duo trained together, ate together, shopped together, and lived under the same roof. They spent nights together in hotels, including one in Boston just days before 9/11. They constantly checked in with each other by phone when they were separated, and they spoke on the phone more than once on the morning of 9/11, after they were separated by different terminals.

KSM’s  interrogators said that Atta and Al-Shehhi had been best friends, roommates, and maybe even lovers for years, going back to their days in Hamburg in Germany. When separated by a  few weeks, Atta was inconsolable, constantly worrying about his young friend's wellbeing and health.

KSM’s version was also corroborated by Ziad Jarrah, another hijacker pilot of United Airlines Flight 193 who stayed very close to the residences of Mohammad Atta and Marwan al Shehhi in Florida. Jarrah very closely used to watch them and tell his wife that the American society is different from theirs. His wife later told interrogators that America took the views of the three, forcing them to ponder the difference between their societies and the richness and hope of the West.   They were free to travel and practice their faith—and even train to be terrorists—without the mosque or secret police or even neighbours watching or judging. Atta and Al-Shehhi, were free to be themselves.

Newsweek spoke to the relatives about the special relationship between Atta and Al-Shehhi. Atta’s family told them that about psychological torment of Atta, “homophobic slurs as a way of explaining the unexplainable: that somehow their lives—and their faith—had been perverted.”