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3/14/2007 20:59:25
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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed says responsible for 9/11


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By Andrew Gray/Reuters

Top al Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has claimed he organized the September 11 attacks on the United States and other major attacks, according to the transcript of a hearing released on Wednesday.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z," Mohammed, speaking through a personal representative, said according to the transcript of the hearing on Saturday at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.

Mohammed, a Pakistani national, also said he was responsible for a 1993 attack on New York's World Trade Center, the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, and an attempt to down two American airplanes using shoe bombs.

U.S. officials have said Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2003 and handed over to U.S. custody, was the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the
Pentagon.

"I was the operational director for Sheikh Usama (Osama) Bin Laden for the organizing, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 operation," he said through his representative, a member of the U.S. military.

The transcript, released by the Pentagon, showed Mohammed was present at the hearing, which is to determine whether he meets the U.S. definition of an "enemy combatant."

The transcript had been edited by U.S. officials. The Pentagon has said this is necessary to remove sensitive security information.

Mohammed's representative read a statement on his behalf claiming responsibility for 28 separate attacks or plots.

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.

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."

Mohammed is among 14 prisoners identified by U.S. authorities as "high-value" terrorism suspects and transferred to Guantanamo last year from secret CIA prisons abroad.

He appeared to express some regret at the deaths caused by the September 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," he said.

"The language of any war in the world is killing. I mean the language of the war is victims."

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