Feature

Strangers on a train

The week's news at a glance.

Hamburg, Germany

The 9/11 hijackers in the Hamburg cell were originally planning to strike in Chechnya, but were persuaded to hit America by a stranger they met on a German train in 1999, The Washington Post reported this week. The episode, revealed in newly released 9/11 commission interrogation reports, is complicating the trial of two surviving cell members. German prosecutors were pushing the theory that the Hamburg cell, led by Mohamed Atta, was the driving force behind the entire 9/11 plot. But according to the new information, an Islamic radical Atta met on the train persuaded him to talk to Osama bin Laden, who recruited him into al Qaida and gave him a much bigger mission. The train story came from the classified interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh, a top Hamburg cell member who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002.

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