Passports of Jihadists Found by Pakistani Army





... Alongside carefully arrayed mortar shells, short-range artillery equipment and a range of rifles is a pile of papers and documents. Among them are plans showing how to assemble an "impact grenade" and a "time delay" grenade. Other pieces of paper, handwritten in Arabic, apparently lay out instructions on how to rig another explosive device. Also among the documents are two European passports that purportedly belong to fugitive al-Qaeda members who are linked to the 9/11 attacks and the 2004 Madrid bombings.

Most prominent is a German passport that appears to have belonged to Said Bahaji, 34, a member of the Hamburg cell that orchestrated the 9/11 attacks who was close to its ringleader, Mohamed Atta. The passport was apparently issued in Hamburg to Bahaji, the son of Moroccan and German parents, on Aug. 3, 2001. A Pakistani tourist visa valid for 90 days that appears inside the passport was stamped the following day. An entry stamp from Karachi dated Sept. 4, 2001, suggests that Bahaji landed in the Pakistani port city just a week before the attacks on New York and Washington. There was no sign of further travel in the passport.

It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the passport, number L8642163, or determine whether its apparent holder had been in the area, had been killed or had abandoned it there years ago. But the details in the passport closely matched those available from an Interpol-U.N. Security Council Special Notice. The passport number only differs by one digit, and the photographs are clearly of the same person.

Another passport the army claimed it recovered, and seen by reporters on the visit, belonged to Raquel Burgos Garcia, also 34, a Spaniard who had converted to Islam and later joined al-Qaeda as a low-level operative. The Spanish passport, number P099823, did not bear any Pakistani stamps. Her passport was also issued just weeks before the 9/11 attacks, on Aug. 1, 2001.

According to a Moroccan student card purportedly belonging to Garcia that was displayed with her passport, she is the wife of Amer Azizi, a Moroccan terrorist suspect linked to the 2004 Madrid bombings. Garcia's passport bore no traces of travel to Pakistan but did have stamps showing repeated travel to Morocco, her apparent husband's country. There was also a used travel visa to Iran, where Azizi is reported to have fled at one point. And there was an Indian visit visa, but it did not appear to have been used for travel.

If genuine, the passports would confirm what the U.S. has been saying all along: that Pakistan's wild borderlands have served as a sanctuary for global jihadis who may be plotting fresh attacks on the West. Bahaji served as a "senior al-Qaeda propagandist," says a senior U.S. counterterrorism official. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, it was widely reported that members of the Hamburg cell had their first known meeting at Bahaji's 1999 wedding in a Hamburg mosque...

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