Abdulaziz Al Omari is still alive, according to a report on the BBC.
This has been suggested, but there's a clear problem here. Let's look at the quote.
Abdulaziz Al Omari, another of the Flight 11 hijack suspects, has also been quoted in Arab news reports.
He says he is an engineer with Saudi Telecoms, and that he lost his passport while studying in Denver.
Another man with exactly the same name surfaced on the pages of the English-language Arab News.
The second Abdulaziz Al Omari is a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines, the report says.
There are two people claiming to be the individual named as the hijacker? Then that immediately suggests there’s some confusion here, and at least one of them is wrong. Or perhaps both.
Others point out more detailed versions of the story.
"The name (reported by the FBI) is my name and the birth date is the same as mine, but I am not the one who bombed the World Trade Centre in New York," Abdulaziz Alomari told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The pan-Arab newspaper, which published a picture of Alomari on its website, said the US-educated engineer had reported to police in Denver, Colorado, that he lost his passport when his apartment was robbed in 1995.
Alomari, born on December 24, 1972, was interviewed in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It quoted him as saying that he left the United States in April 2000 and that he was at his Riyadh office at the time of the bombings of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
He has the same birth date, they say. Can that be just coincidence? Well, it could be, not least because the FBI actually gave two dates for Alomari.
Abdulaziz Alomari - Date of birth used: December 24, 1972 and May 28, 1979; Possible residence: Hollywood, Florida; Believed to be a pilot.
The previous article tells us the “still alive” Alomari used a birth date of 24th December 1972. What’s noticeable is that the hijacker Alomari’s own visa application used the 1979 date...
The FBI still thought it possible that he used the 1972 date, but we’ve yet to find out why. Could they have picked this up from immigration, perhaps, by looking at visits to the US by someone with a similar name? We can perhaps follow their thinking by looking at an FBI Affidavit filed on September 12th, 2001:
Follow the link for the full document, which gives us a good idea of what happened in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Atta and Alomari were picked out as possible candidates for hijackers from the phone call of a flight attendant; their tickets tied them to Florida; the FBI discovered an Alomari who used to live in the area, was a pilot, and “had a friend taking flying lessons”. None of this is proof that he was involved, but you can understand why the FBI might consider him a possible suspect.
Meanwhile a Saudi Information Agency report offers a background on the alleged hijacker, indicating he wasn’t the 1972-born individual in the earlier story. And this may also explain why one or two initial reports had him named as “AbdulRahman AlOmari” -- it’s his middle name:
AbdulAziz AbdulRahman AlOmari (AlZahrani) 23, married with one daughter 28 months. He was born in Hawran village at AlMakhawa County in AlBaha region (south west) one of the poorest regions in the country.
He is s a graduate of Imam Mohamed Bin Saud University, Qaseem branch, where he met and befriended several clerics such as Suliman AlAlwan who was mentioned in Osama Ben Laden’s tape. He also studied at the hand of senior official cleric Shaikh Saleh Al-Fawzan.
He left to Afghanistan in December 2000. He was trained in AlFarooq camp in Qandahar and was appointed its religious leader due to his education. During his stay in Afghanistan he joined Taliban forces in their attacks on Afghani towns, according to several of his friends.
Later he was appointed a military trainer at the same camp. He along with several hijackers left to US from Dubai. His nickname in Afghanistan was Abu AlAbbas Al-Janoubi. He was on American Airlines #11 that crashed into North Tower of World Trade Center.
Aside from that, let’s take a look at the photographic evidence.
This one is the official Al Omari photo from the FBI photo list.
This is supposed to be Al Omari at an ATM with Mohammed Atta. A different angle, but looks like the same guy to us.
And this is reportedly one of the other Al Omaris. Doesn’t look like the same guy to us.
There’s still the other Al Omari, of course, the pilot. As it happens, he spoke to CNN on or before the 21st of September, 2001:
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An airport security photo in Portland, Maine the day of the attacks. State and federal law enforcement sources say the man on the right is Mohamed Atta, believed to have piloted one of the 767s into the World Trade Center. Shown with him in the photo, authorities say, is one of his accomplices, identified by the FBI as Abdul Aziz Alomari. The day after the attack, FBI agents scour Abdul Alomari's rented Vero Beach, Florida home, cleared out about a week before. They also search Alomari's neighbor's house and others nearby, all Saudi Arabian Airlines pilots who recently trained at a flight academy in Vero Beach.
In Saudi Arabia, this man watches the horror of the World Trade Center attack unfolding, then hears his name mentioned as a suspected terrorist, and sees a picture of himself provided by a law enforcement source to CNN.
ABDUL RAHMAN ALOMARI, SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES: It was painful for me, for my family, for my kids in school. My pictures were all over the world
CANDIOTTI: Alomari calls a fellow pilot still in Florida, who at that exact moment was talking with the FBI. An agent got on the line.
ALOMARI: They asked me who I am. I said, you know, I am Alomari, Abdul Rahman. And to their surprise, they said, I mean, you should be dead. I said, well, I'm here back home with my kids.
CANDIOTTI: Alomari says he and the suspected hijacker have different middle names. After meeting with the FBI in Saudi Arabia, he says the Bureau apologized. Alomari says, and the FBI now admits, the middle names, a common tribal distinction in Saudi Arabia, apparently caused the confusion.
Did this Alomari match the current photograph of the hijacker? No (and keep in mind the official FBI list of photos didn’t appear until 6 days after this report). This was the image that appeared in a CNN clip on 16th September (click for a video, XviD AVI format, 1.5 MB):
He looks much older, quite different to the hijacker photos. A later CNN piece explaining the mixup provided more images:
Other images taken from the interview confirm the point.
We’ve placed a clip or two from the video here. Please note that this is edited to show his image only, and is not representative of the whole report: to find out exactly what CNN were saying, read the transcript at http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/21/tpt.00.html
Look at the details of this story, then, and they don’t come close to proving that the Al Omari named by the FBI is still alive. Especially now Saudi Arabia has accepted that the named suspects were actually involved.
Saudi Arabia acknowledged for the first time that 15 of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers were Saudi citizens...
Previously, Saudi Arabia had said the citizenship of 15 of the 19 hijackers was in doubt despite U.S. insistence they were Saudis. But Interior Minister Prince Nayef told The Associated Press that Saudi leaders were shocked to learn 15 of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
"The names that we got confirmed that," Nayef said in an interview. "Their families have been notified."