CAMERA is frequently questioned about the veracity of urban legends circulating on the internet and elsewhere. The following is an example of one of the many rumors that have surfaced since September 11, 2001. For more on urban myths,
Mohammed Atta, a ringleader of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks, had been held
and then released by the Israelis in 1986.
AS SEEN ON THE INTERNET IN THE MONTHS FOLLOWING 9/11:
Subject: FW: In Case You Didn't Know Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a
bus in Israel in 1986.
The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo
agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-call
political prisoners. However, the Israelis would not release any
with blood on their hands. The American President at the time, Bill Clinton,
and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, "insisted" that all
prisoners be released. Thus Mohammad Atta was freed and eventually thanked the
US by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center. This was
reported by many of the American TV networks at the time that the terrorists
were first identified. It was censored in the US from all later reports. If you
agree that the American public must be made aware of this fact, pass this on.
According to a Nov. 7, 2001 Jerusalem Post article, the Israeli Justice
Ministry said there is no connection between pilot Mohammed Atta who flew a
passenger jet into the World Trade Center and a Palestinian with a similar name
who was once extradited to Israel for blowing up a bus in the West Bank
(Justice Ministry: WTC bomber was never held in Israel).
The rumor is apparently based on the fact that in 1990 the United States
extradited to Israel a Palestinian Mahmoud Abed Atta to face charges in the
April 1986 murder of a bus driver, the Post reported. The man was eventually
freed on technicalities, and his whereabouts are unknown today. That man,
a Palestinian born in Ramallah, was 36 years old at the time and would be 47
today. The terrorist pilot the FBI identified as Mohammed Atta was just 33
years old and an Egyptian, the article stated.