- The Washington Times - Friday, August 30, 2002

KARLSRUHE, Germany One of the September 11 hijackers boasted that he would kill thousands in an attack on the World Trade Center nearly a year and a half before he crashed an airplane into the south tower, Germany's chief prosecutor said yesterday.

"There will be thousands of dead. You will all think of me," Marwan Shehhi, a member of a Hamburg terror cell, told a librarian in April or May of 2000.

Outlining the Hamburg cell's role in the September 11 attacks in the greatest detail yet, chief German prosecutor Key Nehm said the hijackers knew by October 1999 they would attack the United States with airplanes but said the idea likely originated elsewhere in the al Qaeda network.

The details, which give the clearest indication so far that the members of the Hamburg cell were aware of the scope of their mission, are contained in a 90-page indictment against Mounir El Motassadeq, 28, the only person in German custody in connection with the attack.

Germany has issued international warrants for three other cell members, fugitives Ramzi Binalshibh, seen in Malaysia in June 2001, Said Bahaji, who left Germany eight days before the attacks, and Zakariya Essabar.

The indictment charging Mr. Motassadeq with belonging to a terror group and 3,000 counts of being an accessory to murder remained sealed. But Mr. Nehm described in detail how the cell was formed and how its members received training, orders and financing.

"All the members of this cell shared the same religious convictions, an Islamic lifestyle, a feeling of being out of place in unfamiliar cultural surroundings," Mr. Nehm said. "At the center of this stood the hatred of the world Jewry and the United States."

Prosecutors said Mr. Motassadeq, a Moroccan who was arrested in Hamburg two months after the attacks, maintained the cell's logistics along with Mr. Binalshibh after the hijackers went to get flight training in United States. Prosecutors expect his trial to begin by the end of the year in Hamburg superior court.

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