Terrorist Who 'Masterminded' 9/11 Linked To Assassination Attempt On John Paul II
By Michael H. Brown
The man suspected of masterminding the September 11 attacks lived lavishly in the Philippines with his nephew -- who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II during a papal visit to Manila in 1995.
The revelation establishes that papal assassination was given the highest priority by Bin Laden operatives and that the Vatican may remain in serious danger (and in need of prayer).
U.S. counterterrorism officials have revealed that since September, evidence has grown that an operative named Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was chief among Osama Bin Laden lieutenants organizing the hijack plot. Mohammed reportedly lived in the Philippines in 1994 and 1995, at the very time of the papal attempt, with nephew Ramzi Yousef.
Mohammed's nephew helped organize the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and his plot to kill the Pope two years later was foiled (as we have previously reported) when a miraculous accident caused an explosion in the Manila apartment where a bomb was being readied just a week before the pontiff's visit.
The 1995 plot had involved use of a fragmentary bomb and timer inside a digital watch.
When officers investigated they found the apartment laden with a crucifix, Bibles, and cassocks -- indicating that the terrorists were going to disguise themselves as priests. Italian police are now on high alert at all papal functions.
Mohammed is said to have transferred the money used in the September 11 attacks and also had devised a plot to hijack or bomb 11 U.S.-bound flights originating in Asian countries. Officials said he worked with Yousef on the initial WTC bombing in the early 1990s and mostly stayed in Yousef's apartment. He was apparently identified as the mastermind by a senior Al Qaeda member now in custody.
Another of the terrorists in the Philippines, Abdulhakim Alihashim Murad, was arrested at an apartment on Quirino Ave., Manila -- just 150 meters from the Papal Nunciature.
"Authorities also recovered a map covering the areas of Manila, indicating [a plot] to disrupt the visit of the Pope at the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference at the San Carlos Seminary along Edsa, Guadalupe, Makati City on Jan. 15, 1995," according to a Filipino newspaper, the Cebu Sun-Star.
Recovered from the apartment were also a laptop computer, a map of the Pope's itinerary, and photographs of John Paul II. In recent years, John Paul II has been the object of at least three failed plots on his life by fundamentalist terrorist groups, according to political and press sources.
U.S. officials said the plot against the Pope was discovered in January of 1995 when Filipino firemen were summoned to the apartment in response to reports of smoke billowing from the windows. The firefighters called in police when they found smoldering chemicals in the empty apartment. Later, authorities confiscated a computer disk that described plans to blow up the 747 jumbo jets over the Pacific Ocean and to assassinate John Paul II.
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