Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, killer of Daniel Pearl…

…and mastermind of 9/11, sits in Guantanamo…


Top Al-Qaida suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2003, said he beheaded American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, according to the transcript of a hearing at the Guantanamo prison camp released Thursday.“I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl,” Mohammed said through a personal representative, according to the transcript released by the Pentagon.

Mohammed has long been considered a prime suspect in the case.

The reputed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States has also said that al-Qaida planned to crash planes into the southern resort city of Eilat using aircraft departing from Saudi Arabia.Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has confessed to planning over 30 Al-Qaida mega-terrorist attacks throughout the world, some of which were never put into action.Mohemmed also said the organization planned to dispatch militants to conduct surveillance on several strategic targets in Israel. The Al-Qaida leader confirmed long-help suspicions of his high-level involvement in the group’s terrorist activity, spanning from the truck bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and until his capture in Pakistan in 2003.

He also revealed Al-Qaida plans to hit Western targets around the world that had not earlier been discussed by intelligence officials or contained in terror alerts.

Details of the confession, released Wednesday by the Pentagon, could not immediately be confirmed, but many refer to locations for which the United States and other nations have issued terrorism warnings based on what they have deemed credible threats from 1993 to the present.

The targets also include many Israeli interests throughout the world, and included the 2002 bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya that killed 18 as well as the near-simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Arkia charger flight.

Among the attacks, according to the extraordinary confession:

* In the United States, Mohammed said he had planned or helped plan a second wave of attacks after 9/11 on nuclear power plants, the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Plaza Bank building in Seattle, and the Empire State Building, stock exchange and other financial institutions and bridges in New York. Most of these facilities had been the subject of earlier warnings.

He also said he had coordinated shoe bomber Richard Reid’s December 2001 attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic airliner en route to the United States and that a second plane had also been targeted for similar destruction at the same time.

* Britain, where he said he planned attacks on London’s Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben, most of which have been previously mentioned as terror targets by British authorities.

Mohammed did not speak of the London transport attacks of 2005, which occurred after his detention.

* The Philippines, home to the Al-Qaida affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group, from where Mohammed said he had surveyed and financed plots to kill the late Pope John Paul II in 1994, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, as well as blow up the Israeli Embassy in Manila.

The capital was also the center of a thwarted plan to blow up a dozen U.S. passenger jets over the Pacific in the mid-1990s, for which Mohammed admitted responsibility, saying he had personally monitored a round-trip Pan Am flight from Manila to Seoul that could have been a target.

* Indonesia, home to the Al-Qaida-affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah, where Mohammed said he was directly behind the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings in Indonesia that killed 202 people, many of them Australian tourists.

He said he had also planned apparently unsuccessful or unexecuted attacks on the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Jakarta and an oil facility in Sumatra he said was owned by the Jewish former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

* Thailand, which has been hit by a spate of Muslim-Buddhist violence in recent months, where Mohammed said planned attacks on nightclubs frequented by American and British citizens and was responsible for surveying and financing a plot to destroy an Israeli El Al airliner taking off from the Bangkok airport. These were not executed.

* Panama, where Mohammed claimed to have been behind a plot to bomb and destroy the Panama Canal that has not occurred.

* Turkey, where Mohammed said he had financed operations to hit U.S., British and Israeli targets. Several attacks have taken place in Turkey since Mohammed’s arrest but none have been publicly linked to him.

* South Korea, where Mohammed claimed to have planned to attack U.S. military bases and nightclubs frequented by Americans. None have been hit.

* Australia, Azerbaijan, India and Japan, where Mohammed said he planned to blow up either the U.S. and Israeli embassies or both. None of those facilities have been attacked.

Other alleged intended targets mentioned by Mohammed on which there have been no attacks are NATO headquarters in Brussels and U.S. military vessels and oil tankers plying the Straits of Hormuz and Gibraltar and the Port of Singapore, one of the world’s largest.

Mohammed did not mention the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


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