Pakistani claims responsibility for 9/11 attacks
A Pakistani national, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has claimed he organised the September 11 attacks on the United States and shared responsibility for other major plots including one to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z," said top Al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Mohammed, speaking through a personal representative, at a hearing Saturday at the US military's Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.
He also said he shared responsibility for three other plots, including plots to assassinate Pope John Paul in the Philippines and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
US officials have said Khalid Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2003 and handed over to US custody, was the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks which destroyed the World Trade Centre and damaged the Pentagon.
"I was the operational director for Sheikh Osama bin Laden for the organising, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 operation," he said at the hearing, which is to determine whether he meets the US definition of an "enemy combatant."
Khalid Mohammed's representative read a statement on his behalf claiming responsibility for 28 separate attacks or plots. Mohammed himself then made a long statement in broken English, in which he compared Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden to George Washington, the first president of the United States.
"He is doing (the) same thing," he said. "He is just fighting. He needs his independence."
Khalid Mohammed is among 14 prisoners identified by US authorities as "high-value" terrorism suspects and transferred to Guantanamo last year from secret CIA prisons abroad.
He expressed regret at the deaths caused by the Sept 11 attacks but suggested they were justified as part of a war against the United States. "I'm not happy that three thousand been killed in America. I feel sorry even. The language of any war in the world is killing. I mean the language of the war is victims," he said.