Knives were used in the September 11 attacks.

Passenger Barbara Olson called her husband, United States Solicitor General Ted Olson, and reported that the plane had been hijacked and that the assailants had box cutters and knives.[1]

8:14 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Is Hijacked, but Pilot Makes No Distress Call Edit

in a template [1]

The 9/11 Commission will later conclude that Flight 11 is hijacked at 8:14 or shortly after. It will state,

“Information supplied by eyewitness accounts indicates that the hijackers initiated and sustained their command of the aircraft using knives (as reported by two flight attendants); violence, including stabbing and slashing (as reported by two flight attendants); the threat of violence (as indicated by a hijacker in radio transmissions received by air traffic control); Mace (reported by one flight attendant); the threat of a bomb, either fake or real (reported by one flight attendant); and deception about their intentions (as indicated by a hijacker in a radio transmission received by air traffic control).”

The Commission says,

“We do not know exactly how the hijackers gained access to the cockpit; FAA rules required that the doors remain closed and locked during flight.… Perhaps the terrorists stabbed the flight attendants to get a cockpit key, to force one of them to open the cockpit door, or to lure the captain or first officer out of the cockpit. Or the flight attendants may just have been in their way.”

Pilots are trained to handle hijackings by staying calm, complying with any requests, and, if possible, dialing an emergency four-digit code on their plane’s transponder. It only takes a few seconds to dial this code. [4] Yet, as the Boston Globe notes, “It appears that the hijackers’ entry was surprising enough that the pilots did not have a chance to broadcast a traditional distress call” [see 1]. [5] The Los Angeles Times Wikipedia reports that, when flight attendant Amy Sweeney makes a phone call from the plane, she says the hijackers have “just gained access to the cockpit.” [6] Yet her first attempted call is not until 8:22, and, according to official accounts, her first call that stays connected is at 8:25, well past when the 9/11 Commission says the hijacker takeover occurs. [7] According to an anonymous employee at the FAA’s Boston Center, Flight 11 is hijacked while it is over Gardner, Massachusetts, about 45 miles northwest of Boston. . [8][9]

  1. Johnson, Glen (2001-11-23). "Probe reconstructs horror, calculated attacks on planes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  3. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  4. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  5. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  6. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  8. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;
  9. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]

(Between 8:42 a.m. and 8:46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Hijackers Take Over Flight 175Edit

in a template

According to the 9/11 Commission, Flight 175 is hijacked some time between 8:42—when its flight crew (Victor Saracini and Michael Horrocks) make their last communication with the ground—and 8:46.

The Commission describes that the hijackers

“used knives (as reported by two passengers(Peter Hanson and[who?] ) and a flight attendant[who?]), Mace Wikipedia (reported by Peter Hanson), and the threat of a bomb (also reported by Hanson). They stabbed members of the flight crew (reported by a flight attendant and one passenger). Both pilots had been killed (reported by one flight attendant).”

These witness accounts come from phone calls made from the rear of the plane, from passengers who’d been assigned seats in the front or middle of the cabin. According to the Commission, this is “a sign that passengers and perhaps crew [are] moved to the back of the aircraft.” [1][2]

An unnamed employee at the FAA’s Boston Center later says the hijacking occurs when Flight 175 is above Albany, NY, about 140 miles north of New York City.[3]The first “operational evidence” that something is wrong is at 8:47, when Flight 175’s transponder code changes twice within a minute [see 2].[1]

  1. Johnson, Glen (2001-11-23). "Probe reconstructs horror, calculated attacks on planes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  3. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  4. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  5. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  6. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  8. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;
  9. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]

Summer 2001 summit in Spain Edit

Atta left again in July 2001 for Spain to meet with Binalshibh for the last time. On July 7, 2001, Atta flew on Swissair Flight 117 from Miami to Zürich, where he had a stopover.[4] On July 8, Atta was recorded withdrawing 1700 Swiss francs from an ATM, and using his credit card to purchase two Swiss Army knives and some chocolate in an airport shop in Zurich.[5] After the stopover in Zurich, he arrived in Madrid at 4:45 pm on Swissair Flight 656, and spent several hours at the airport. Then at 8:50 pm, he checked into the Hotel Diana Cazadora in Barajas, a town near the airport. That night and twice the next morning, he called Bashar Ahmad Ali Musleh, a Jordanian student in Hamburg who served as a liaison for Binalshibh.[6]

On the morning of July 9, Mohamed Atta rented a silver Hyundai Accent, which he booked from SIXT Rent-A-Car for July 9 to 16, and later extended to the 19th.[6][7] He drove east out of Madrid towards the Mediterranean beach area of Tarragona. On the way, Atta stopped in Reus to pick up Ramzi Binalshibh at the airport. They drove to Cambrils, where they spent a night at the Hotel Monica. They checked out the next morning, and spent the next few days at an unknown location in Tarragona.[6] The absence of other hotel stays, signed receipts or credit card stubs has led investigators to believe that the men may have met in a safe house provided by other al-Qaeda operatives in Spain. There, Atta and Binalshibh held a meeting to complete the planning of the attacks. Several clues have been found to link their stay in Spain to Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas (Abu Dahdah), and Amer el Azizi, a Moroccan in Spain. They may have helped arrange and host the meeting in Tarragona.[8] Yosri Fouda, who interviewed Binalshibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) before the arrest, believes that Said Bahaji and KSM may have also been present at the meeting. Spanish investigators have said that Marwan al-Shehhi and two others later joined the meeting. Binalshibh would not discuss this meeting with Fouda.[9]

During the Spain meetings, Atta and Binalshibh had coordinated the details of the attacks. The 9/11 Commission obtained details about the meeting, based on interrogations of Binalshibh in the weeks after his arrest in September 2002. Binalshibh explained that he passed along instructions from Osama bin Laden, including his desire for the attacks to be carried out as soon as possible. Bin Laden was concerned about having so many operatives in the United States. Atta confirmed that all the muscle hijackers had arrived in the United States, without any problems, but said that he needed five to six more weeks to work out details. Bin Laden also asked that other operatives not be informed of the specific data until the last minute. During the meeting, Atta and Binalshibh also decided on the targets to be hit, ruling out a strike on a nuclear plant. Binalshibh passed along Bin Laden's list of targets; Bin Laden wanted the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon, and the World Trade Center to be attacked, as they were deemed "symbols of America." They also discussed the personal difficulties Atta was having with fellow hijacker Ziad Jarrah. Binalshibh was worried that Jarrah might even abandon the plan. The 9/11 Commission Report speculated that the now-convicted terrorist conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was being trained as a possible replacement for Jarrah.[10][11]

From July 13 to 16, Atta stayed at the Hotel Sant Jordi in Tarragona.[6][7] After Binalshibh returned to Germany on July 16, 2001, Atta had three more days in Spain. He spent two nights in Salou at the beachside Casablanca Playa Hotel, then spent the last two nights at the Hotel Residencia Montsant.[12] On July 19, Atta returned to the United States, flying on Delta Air Lines from Madrid to Fort Lauderdale, via Atlanta.[7]

August 2001 final plans in U.S. Edit

On July 22, 2001, Mohamed Atta rented a Mitsubishi Galant Wikipedia from Alamo Rent A Car, putting 3,836 miles on the vehicle before returning it on July 26.(return date is unclear; payment was made on August 5, NCIC query on the vehicle on August 3 ) On July 25, Atta dropped Ziad Jarrah off at Miami International Airport for a flight he had back to Germany. On July 26, Atta traveled via Continental Airlines to Newark, New Jersey and checked into the Kings Inn Hotel in Wayne, New Jersey and stayed there until July 30 when he took a flight from Newark back to Fort Lauderdale.[13]

On August 4, Atta is believed to have been at Orlando International Airport waiting to pick up suspected "20th Hijacker" Mohammed al Qahtani from Dubai Wikipedia, who ended up being held by immigration as "suspicious." This person (assuming it was Atta) used a payphone at the airport to phone a number "linked to al-Qaeda" after Kahtani was denied entry.[14]

On August 6, Atta and al-Shehhi rented a 1995 white, four door Ford Escort from Warrick's Rent-A-Car, which was returned on August 13. On August 6, Atta booked a flight on Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale to Newark, leaving on August 7 and returning on August 9. The reservation was not used and canceled on August 9 with the reason "Family Medical Emergency". Instead, he went to Central Office & Travel in Pompano Beach to purchase a ticket for a flight to Newark, leaving on the evening of August 7 and schedule to return in the evening on August 9. Atta did not take the return flight. On August 7, Atta checked into the Wayne Inn in Wayne, New Jersey and checked out on August 9. The same day, he booked a one-way first class ticket via the Internet on America West Flight 244 from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Las Vegas, Nevada.[13] Atta traveled twice to Las Vegas on "surveillance flights" rehearsing how the 9/11 attacks would be carried out. Other hijackers traveled to Las Vegas at different times in the summer of 2001.

Throughout the summer , Atta met with Nawaf al-Hazmi to discuss the status of the operation on a monthly basis.[15]

On August 23, Atta's driver license was revoked in absentia Wikipedia after he failed to show up in traffic court to answer the earlier citation for driving without a license.[16] On the same day, Israeli Mossad reportedly gave his name to the CIA as part of a list of 19 names they said were planning an attack in the near future. Only four of the names are known for certain – Atta, al-Shehhi, al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi.[17] On August 30 he was recorded purchasing a utility knife from a Wal-Mart store near the hotel where he stayed prior to 9/11.

July 8-August 30, 2001: Hijackers Purchase Knives Edit

An adapted 9/11 Commission chart of knives purchased by the hijackers. [Source: 9/11 Commission] Several 9/11 hijackers purchase multi-use tools and small knives that “may actually have been used in the attacks.” according to the 9/11 Commission. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 248-249]

On July 8, Flight 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta buys two Victorinox Swiss Army knives at Zurich Airport, Switzerland, while on his way to Spain (see July 8-19, 2001). He possibly attempts to buy box cutters in Florida on August 27. On August 30, he buys a Leatherman multi-tool in Boynton Beach, Florida. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 530; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 4, 85 ] 
On August 13, Flight 175 hijackers Marwan Alshehhi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, and Hamza Alghamdi buy knives and multi-tools. Alshehhi buys a Cliphanger Viper and an Imperial Tradesman Dual Edge, both short-bladed knives. Banihammad buys a Stanley two-piece snap knife set, and Alghamdi buys a Leatherman Wave multi-tool. All purchases are made in the same city, though the 9/11 Commission does not say where this is. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 17 ] 
On August 27, Flight 77 hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi buys Leatherman multi-tool knives. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 27 ] Although it is unknown whether any of these knives and tools are used on 9/11, the 9/11 Commission will point out, “While FAA rules did not expressly prohibit knives with blades under four inches long, the airlines’ checkpoint operations guide (which was developed in cooperation with the FAA), explicitly permitted them.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 84] Regarding Flight 93, personal financial records do not reflect weapons being purchased by any of the hijackers. However, the FBI will reportedly recover “14 knives or portions of knives, including a box cutter,” at the crash site. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 457; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 35 ]

Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Hamza Alghamdi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Marwan Alshehhi, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Commissino report Edit

The Hijacking of United 175Edit

United Airlines Flight 175 was scheduled to depart for Los Angeles at 8:00.Captain Victor Saracini and First Officer Michael Horrocks piloted the Boeing 767 Wikipedia,which had seven flight attendants. Fifty-six passengers boarded the flight.[18]

United 175 pushed back from its gate at 7:58 and departed Logan Airport at 8:14. By 8:33, it had reached its assigned cruising altitude of 31,000 feet.The flight attendants would have begun their cabin service.[19]

The flight had taken off just as American 11 was being hijacked, and at 8:42 the United 175 flight crew completed their report on a “suspicious transmission” overheard from another plane (which turned out to have been Flight 11) just after takeoff.This was United 175’s last communication with the ground.[20]

The hijackers attacked sometime between 8:42 and 8:46.They used knives (as reported by two passengers and a flight attendant), Mace Wikipedia (reported by one passenger), and the threat of a bomb (reported by the same passenger).They stabbed members of the flight crew (reported by a flight attendant and one passenger).

Both pilots had been killed (reported by one flight attendant).The eyewitness accounts came from calls made from the rear of the plane, from passengers originally seated further forward in the cabin, a sign that passengers and perhaps crew had been moved to the back of the aircraft. Given similarities to American 11 in hijacker seating and in eyewitness reports of tactics and weapons, as well as the contact between the presumed team leaders, Atta and Shehhi, we believe the tactics were similar on both flights.[21]

The first operational evidence that something was abnormal on United 175 came at 8:47, when the aircraft changed beacon codes twice within a minute. At 8:51, the flight deviated from its assigned altitude, and a minute later NewYork air traffic controllers began repeatedly and unsuccessfully trying to contact it.[22]

At 8:52, in Easton, Connecticut, a man named Lee Hanson received a phone call from his son Peter, a passenger on United 175. His son told him:

“I think they’ve taken over the cockpit—An attendant has been stabbed—

and someone else up front may have been killed. The plane is making strange moves. Call United Airlines—Tell them it’s Flight 175, Boston to LA.”

Lee Hanson then called the Easton Police Department and relayed what he had heard.[23]

Also at 8:52, a male flight attendant called a United office in San Francisco, reaching Marc Policastro.The flight attendant reported that the flight had been hijacked, both pilots had been killed, a flight attendant had been stabbed, and

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the hijackers were probably flying the plane.The call lasted about two minutes, after which Policastro and a colleague tried unsuccessfully to contact the flight.[24]

At 8:58, the flight took a heading toward New York City.[25]

At 8:59, Flight 175 passenger Brian David Sweeney tried to call his wife, Julie. He left a message on their home answering machine that the plane had been hijacked. He then called his mother, Louise Sweeney, told her the flight had been hijacked, and added that the passengers were thinking about storming the cockpit to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.[26]

At 9:00, Lee Hanson received a second call from his son Peter:

It’s getting bad, Dad—A stewardess was stabbed—They seem to have knives and Mace—They said they have a bomb—It’s getting very bad on the plane—Passengers are throwing up and getting sick—The

plane is making jerky movements—I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane—I think we are going down—I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building—Don’t worry, Dad— If it happens, it’ll be very fast—My God, my God.[27]

The call ended abruptly. Lee Hanson had heard a woman scream just before it cut off. He turned on a television, and in her home so did Louise Sweeney. Both then saw the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center.[28]

At 9:03:11, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center.[29] All on board, along with an unknown number of people in the tower, were killed instantly.

See alsoEdit

trial doc - pictures of knives


  1. Johnson, Glen (2001-11-23). "Probe reconstructs horror, calculated attacks on planes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  3. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  4. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  5. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  6. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  8. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;
  9. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]

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