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Homeland Security

Hamburg Cell

Part of 9-11 plotters
Center of GravityGermany
Area of OperationAfghanistan, United States
GoalKey organizational and planning cell for the Sept. 11 attacks
LeaderMohamed Atta
Core membership6
Alias(es)Dar el Ansar1, House of the Followers1
Key membersMarwan al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, Ramzi Binalshibh, Said Bahaji, Zakariya Essabar
Narrative and Notes
ReliableThe "Hamburg Cell" formed between several friends -- mostly Muslims who had come to Germany to study -- around 1998 as they became radicalized toward an Islamic extremist point of view.

Members of the group would go on to train in Afghanistan and become key operatives in the Sept. 11 attacks.

It is thought they were brought rapidly into the 9-11 plot because they had a wealth of technical knowledge and experience living in the west, unlike the original, veteran al-Qaeda operatives assigned to the plot, such as Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.1
PossibleWitness accounts suggest they were not entirely silent about their planes. A librarian in Hamburg overheard Shehhi in 1999 boasting there would be "thousands of dead people" in America. Mounir al Motassadeq referred to Atta as "our pilot" on another occasion.2
1The 9-11 Commission Final Report, July 22, 2004, Chapter 5.3.
2The 9-11 Commission Final Report, July 22, 2004, Footnotes.
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Page last modified: 02-11-2006 23:06:09 ZULU