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10 Years Later, after Osama bin Laden's Death, Still Unclear why 9/11 Terrorists were in Jacksonville

10:13 PM, May 2, 2011   |    comments
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MORE: Full coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Eleven months before 9/11, Osama bin Laden's top recruits started arriving in Jacksonville.

In 2004, the FBI told First Coast News, "We had a couple of the 9/11 hijackers here for a couple of weeks." But, said Robert Cromwell, the former special agent in charge of the FBI's Jacksonville office, said he could not discuss specifics.

Today, a day after bin Laden's death, the FBI said it still is not allowed to talk about why the terrorists were here.

Out of the 19 hijackers, at least three were in Jacksonville.

Bin Laden's top lieutenant, Mohammed Atta, was here in the fall 2000. Atta and the pilot of the United flight that took down tower number two, Marwan Al-shehhi, flew into Craig Airfield, on a Sunday night.

The two flight students were in a small plane and were getting flight time for their pilots licenses.

Officials at Craig told us in 2004 that Al-shehhi bought $30 worth of fuel while here.

"We went through our archives, found the receipt where he had made his fuel purchase.  The receipts for his fuel purchase were picked up by the special agent from the FBI," said Ken Fisher, general manager at Sky Harbor, which is part of Craig Airfiled.

Six and a half months before the attacks, the pilot who hijacked United Flight 93 was tucked away inside room 250 at the Ramada Inn off University Boulevard.

Ziad Jarrah checked in on Feb. 25, 2001. Ramada Inn's hotel log showed Jarrah checked in on a Sunday night, just after 7:30.

He used his own name to register and he paid cash, $213.57 to stay in the room for one week.

But sources who would only talk to us on condition of anonymity confirm Jarrah was in Jacksonville longer than a week.

While bin Laden's pilot was in Jacksonville, he frequented Wacko's strip club off Emerson, and workers there said in 2004 they picked out Jarrah in a line-up for federal agents.

Ten years have gone by since their visits and it is still unclear why the three men were here and where exactly they went.

The FBI said an order is in place to not discuss the case.         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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