Germany: man suspected of links to Sept. 11 attacks might be in Syria

Published June 19th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Germany has asked Syria to confirm whether it is holding a German suspected of links to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the German Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. 


Syrian-born Mohammed Haydar Zammar allegedly recruited Sept. 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta while the two men lived in Hamburg. Zammar left Germany in the wake of the attacks and was reportedly arrested in late October in Morocco. 


A German intelligence official said Tuesday that the Moroccans later sent Zammar to Syria, where he remains in custody."We are pursuing the news that he is being held in Syria," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Sparwasser said Wednesday. "We have no answer from Syria yet." 


If Zammar is in Syria, Germany would want access to him, another ministry official said, according to AP. Germany has not issued an arrest warrant for Zammar. He was questioned by investigators immediately after Sept. 11 but let go due to lack of evidence against him. 


Zammar was in Hamburg at the same time as Atta and other members of the al-Qaeda cell which carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, including Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah. Zammar is also believed to have introduced Atta to al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan. 


According to the newsmagazine Der Spiegel, Zammar told German investigators at the time that he had personally copied leaflets found in his home in which Osama bin Laden called for a holy war. 


Zammar, a car mechanic, came to Germany in 1971 and became a citizen in 1982, the news magazine Der Spiegel reported.  


It should be mentioned that Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a recent interview that his country is cooperating with the Bush administration to stamp out al-Qaeda network, and it provided intelligence that saved the lives of American soldiers. 


The Syrian leader declined to provide specifics about the al-Qaeda operation or the information that Syria purportedly gave the United States three months ago. But had the operation been successful, Assad said, it would have killed "many American soldiers." 


A U.S. intelligence official confirmed Syria's cooperation in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, but declined to provide further details. "The Syrians have been cooperative and supportive in the fight against al-Qaeda, including providing useful information and providing threat information," the official was quoted as saying by an American newspaper. 


Another U.S. intelligence official said that Mohammed Haydar Zammar is in Syrian custody. That official also said Syrian intelligence had provided the United States with information gathered by monitoring the Damascus telephone of a relative of one of Osama bin Laden's wives. (

© 2002 Al Bawaba (

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