LONDON (AFP) -A newspaper claimed it had obtained a copy of a film showing two of the pilots in the September 11 2001 attacks reading martyrdom wills at Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s headquarters.
The Sunday Times reported that the video showed Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker who flew the first plane into New York’s World Trade Center, with Ziad Jarrah, pilot of a plane which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers apparently stormed the cockpit.
According to the paper, the well-groomed pair are shown laughing and smiling in the January 2000 film but turn solemn when Atta starts reading a document marked “the will” in Arabic. Jarrah also reads his will on film.
The hour-long tape, which has no soundtrack and which lipreaders have been unable to decipher, was obtained through “a previously tested channel,” the newspaper said.
Its authenticity has been confirmed by Al-Qaeda and United States sources “on condition of anonymity,” it added.
The video is also said to show Bin Laden addressing his followers at a mud-walled complex near Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, although this footage is dated ten days before the wills were recorded.
Months after the film was recorded, Atta and Jarrah, who have never before been pictured together on film, enrolled at flying schools in America, the newspaper said.
The film could help resolve investigators’ questions about where Atta went to after disappearing from Hamburg, northern Germany, where he was a student at a technical university.
Last month, a Pentagon investigation dismissed as unsubstantiated allegations that a secret military intelligence programme indentified Atta a year before the 9/11 attacks.
Four witnesses remembered seeing his name or photograph on a chart identifying terrorist cells but the report said their recollections were not accurate and that neither Atta’s nor any of the 9/11 hijackers’ names or pictures were included.
Nearly 3000 people died in the 9/11 attacks when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon, headquarters of the United States defense department, and a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
It is thought that this plane, United Airlines flight 93, was heading for Capitol Hill, home of the United States congress.
The actions of passengers on board this flight were the subject of a film, “United 93,” which was released earlier this year.