Mounir El-Motassadeq grinning on the deportation flight after his early release. Picture: CEN/Australscope
Mounir El-Motassadeq grinning on the deportation flight after his early release. Picture: CEN/Australscope

9/11 terrorist gets hero’s welcome

A TERRORIST jailed over the September 11 attacks has been mobbed by supporters in his home country of Morocco after being freed early.

Mounir El-Motassadeq was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to 15 years behind bars in Germany for accessory to murder.

On October 15, he was freed shortly before completing his sentence under condition he agree to be deported to his homeland, the The Sun reports. If he ever returns to Germany he can be arrested on the spot.

Now El-Motassadeq, 44, is back in a suburb of Marrakesh where he is living in his family home with his wife and children.

Recently spotted meeting old friends as he returned from prayers at his local mosque, El-Motassadeq said he was too busy to speak when approached outside his three-storey semi-detached home.

 

Mounir El-Motassadeq grinning on the deportation flight after his early release. Picture: CEN/Australscope
Mounir El-Motassadeq grinning on the deportation flight after his early release. Picture: CEN/Australscope

 

Handcuffed, blindfolded and wearing earmuffs, Mounir El-Motassadeq (L) is escorted at Hamburg Airport as he is released from prison.
Handcuffed, blindfolded and wearing earmuffs, Mounir El-Motassadeq (L) is escorted at Hamburg Airport as he is released from prison.

But his sister is said to have replied "hamdullah" - Arabic for "praise be to God" - when asked if she was happy he was home.

And one neighbour told the Daily Mail: "We are very happy."

The neighbour added: "His family were coming from different cities to greet him. They were really happy that he is back. His mum was crying tears of joy. His siblings were really happy."

There were reported jubilant scenes with people said to have come from all over Morocco to see him.

German courts ruled that he was part of the so-called "Hamburg cell" with ringleader Mohamed Atta and two of the other extremists, and was aware the three planned to hijack and crash planes - if not all the details of the plot, which took 2997 lives on September 11, 2001.

 

Mounir El-Motassadeq was one of only two people to be convicted over the September 11 attacks. Picture: AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer
Mounir El-Motassadeq was one of only two people to be convicted over the September 11 attacks. Picture: AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer

El-Motassadeq, who admitted to training at an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, helped "watch the attackers' backs and conceal them" by paying their tuition and rent so they could keep up appearances as students in Germany as they plotted, the court found.

He was described as the "treasurer" for the 9/11 hijackers and is one of only two men convicted in relation to the September 11 terror attacks.

The other man convicted, French national Zacarias Moussaoui, is serving six life sentences in a maximum-security prison in the US after admitting to being part of the plot.

 

This story originally appeared in the The Sun and has been published here with permission.


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