Marwan Alshehhi is from Ras al-Khaimah Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. His family is not particularly wealthy, but his father is a muezzin and one of his half-brothers a policeman.
Shehhi was being paid by the UAE military, which was sponsoring his studies in Germany. He was allegedly a sergeant in the UAE army. He continued to receive a scholarship salary, allegedly $2000 a month until December 23, 2000, others claim the payments stopped years earlier. The funds were deposited into his bank account in the United Arab Emirates and then wired by his brother, who held power of attorney over the account, to his account at Dresdner Bank in Germany.
In March 1999, German intelligence officials gave the Central Intelligence Agency the first name and telephone number of Marwan al-Shehhi, and asked the Americans to track him.
The name and phone number in the United Arab Emirates had been obtained by the Germans by monitoring the telephone of Mohamed Heidar Zammar, an Islamic militant in Hamburg who was closely linked to the important Qaeda plotters who ultimately mastermined the Sept. 11 attacks, German officials said.
After the Germans passed the information on to the C.I.A., they did not hear from the Americans about the matter until after Sept. 11, a senior German intelligence official said.
There was no response at the time, the official said. After receiving the tip, the C.I.A. decided that Marwan was probably an associate of Osama bin Laden, but never tracked him down, American officials say.
The Germans considered the information on Mr. Shehhi particularly valuable, and the commission is keenly interested in why it apparently did not lead to greater scrutiny of him.
By May 2000 at least one target apparently had been chosen. Al Shehhi bragged to a Hamburg librarian that the World Trade Center would crumble one day. "There will be thousands of deaths," Germanys top prosecutor Kay Nehm quoted him as saying. "You will think of me."
A credible eyewitness to the terrorist conspiracy’s activities in Florida told the MadCowMorningNews that the way had already been smoothed for Marwan Al-Shehhi before he arrived in Venice, by a woman named “Sarah,” supposedly his cousin, who went to work as a pharmacist at an Eckerds drug’s in nearby Nokomis in 1999.
Fifty-year old Venice housewife Stephanie Frederickson lived right next door to Mohamed Atta and a half dozen other suspected terrorists including Marwan Al-shehhi, at the Sandpiper Apartments across the street from the Venice Airport.
She knew Marwan as “Mahmouti,” she told us, and that he already had “relatives” living in town when he arrived. She stated, “Sara was a pharmacist in Nokomis who was Mahmouti’s cousin.”
For her pains in this and other matters about which she possessed ‘incovenient knowledge,’ Ms Frederickson was labeled a “liar” by the FBI.
When we checked with the manager of the Eckerd’s Drugs in Nokomis, he confirmed to us that a Middle-Eastern woman Sarah had been a pharmacist there during 1999 and 2000, just as Frederickson stated.
Frederickson, who worked part-time as a clerk in a convenience store in Venice, also said Atta and his burly sidekick (read bodyguard) Marwan began coming into her store over a year before the FBI says they arrived in America for the first time.
“Atta smoked Marlboros, and he and his buddy came into where I worked a lot in 1999,” she stated matter-of-factly. “They bought candy bars like they were going out of style, and a lot of bottles of wine.”
Berkeley Township, NJEdit
The Associated Press furnished the following information:
“At least six of the 19 suspected hijackers lived in or visited New Jersey before the attacks, but Carroll said it' s too soon to label the state as a staging area for the nation's deadliest terror attack.
Marwan Alshehhi, who authorities say hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 and flew it into the Trade Center's south tower, worked as an attendant at a gas station in Berkeley Township in Ocean County, according to customers and neighbors.
Man mistaken for World Trade Center terrorist target of widespread backlash Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2001
BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- Akram Mena knew he was in trouble the moment he saw the FBI photograph of a terrorist hijacker suspected of flying a jetliner into the World Trade Center.
Marwan Al-Shehhi bears a striking resemblance to Mena, who until earlier this year had been toiling in anonymity at a New Jersey gas station, trying to make enough money to bring his family here from Egypt.
Mena was never taken into custody, but says he was fired from his job as a welder, and the gas station where he used to work is in danger of closing, the owner said. Passers-by have aimed obscene gestures at workers and are still driving up to the pumps asking "Is this where all the terrorists work?"
Owner Magdy Beshara said business is down 75 percent at the station as a result of the backlash. He said if things continue at this rate for another two weeks, he will have to close.
Mena, a relative of Beshara, said he contacted authorities himself to head off what he knew would be inevitable backlash.
"I called the FBI myself, to let them know who I was," he said. "Then I called a newspaper. I was trying to fix the problem."
German Interior Minister Otto Schily said Tuesday that his investigators informed their U.S. counterparts as a "routine" matter that someone named "Marwan" was overheard speaking from the United Arab Emirates with a suspected Al Qaeda operative in Hamburg, Germany in early 1999.
The number from which Al-Shehhi, visiting his family in the UAE, called Hamburg resident Mohammed Haydar Zammar belonged to an unregistered cell phone of the kind commonly sold in the Middle East, and which German investigators say is impossible to trace.
Zammar, an unemployed auto mechanic born in Syria, attracted the attention of German authorities because of his frequent trips to Afghanistan during the early and mid-1990s.
At the time of the overheard conversation, the Sept. 11 hijacking plot didn't exist. Al-Shehhi was not living then in Hamburg, the home of Mohamed Atta and the other Arab students who would later join Atta in the plot.
In September 1999, BKA records show, Al-Shehhi returned again to Hamburg, to study shipbuilding at the Hamburg Technical University. But once again he registered at a different address than that used by Atta and the others who later joined the hijacking plot.
In late November 1999, Al-Shehhi, Atta and another Hamburg student, Ziad Jarrah, journeyed to an Al Qaeda training camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
It was there, according to the BfV, that the Hamburg students were recruited for the Sept. 11 hijacking plot.
Zammar, jailed in Syria for the past two years, reportedly has confessed to Syrian intelligence that he encouraged Atta, Al-Shehhi and Jarrah to make the Afghan trip but denied knowledge of the Sept. 11 plot.