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Before 9/11

Warning Signs (228)
Foreign Intelligence Warnings (27)
Insider Trading (36)
Counterterrorism Before 9/11 (181)
Able Danger (39)
Military Exercises (38)
Hunt for bin Laden (73)
Pipeline Politics (54)

Al-Qaeda Members

Al-Qaeda in Germany (42)
Alhazmi and Almihdhar (74)
Other 9/11 Hijackers (48)
Marwan Alshehhi (21)
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (33)
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh

Geopolitics and 9/11

Pakistani ISI (126)
Randy Glass (7)
Sibel Edmonds (6)
Saeed Sheikh (3)
Mahmood Ahmed (3)
Drugs (21)
Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden Family (110)
Bin Laden Family (33)
Israel (33)
Iraq (49)
US Dominance (34)

Day of 9/11

All day of 9/11 events (401)
Flight AA 11 (62)
Flight UA 175 (49)
Flight AA 77 (70)
Flight UA 93 (105)
George Bush (66)
Dick Cheney (24)
Donald Rumsfeld (24)
Richard Clarke (22)

The Post-9/11 World

Afghanistan (49)
Investigations (166)
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events (79)
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Complete 911 Timeline: Nabil al-Marabh


Project: Complete 911 Timeline

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1989-May 2000: Hijacker Associate al-Marabh Busy Inside US

Raed Hijazi.
Nabil al-Marabh moves to Boston in 1989 and apparently lives there as a taxi driver and al-Qaeda sleeper agent for the next ten years. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01; New York Times, 9/18/01] In 1992, he learns to use weapons in an Afghan al-Qaeda training camp with an operative named Raed Hijazi. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] He and Hijazi live together and drive taxis at the same company in Boston for several years. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] A mutual friend at the same taxi company is later killed participating in a 1999 al-Qaeda attack. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01] Hijazi participates in a failed attempt to bomb a hotel in Jordan in November 1999 and helps plan the USS Cole bombing in October 2000 (see October 12, 2000). In May 1999, the FBI approaches al-Marabh looking for Hijazi, but al-Marabh lies and says he does not know Hijazi. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] Hijazi is arrested in Syria in October 2000 and imprisoned in Jordan for his bomb attempt there. [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] He begins to cooperate with investigators and identifies al-Marabh as a US al-Qaeda operative. [New York Times, 9/18/01] Operative Ahmed Ressam gives evidence helping to prove that al-Marabh sent money to Hijazi for the Jordan bombing. [ABC News, 1/31/02; Toronto Sun, 11/16/01] By February 1999, al-Marabh is driving taxis in Tampa, Florida, while maintaining a cover of living in Boston. [Toronto Star, 10/26/01; New York Times, 9/18/01; ABC News, 1/31/02] He apparently lives in Tampa at least part time until February 2000; investigators later wonder if he is an advance man for the Florida-based hijackers. [ABC News, 1/31/02; New York Times, 9/18/01] Al-Marabh is living in Detroit by May 2000, though he maintains a Boston address until September 2000. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Ahmed Ressam, Jordan, Syria, Nabil al-Marabh, Raed Hijazi

May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001: Possible al-Qaeda Sleeper Agent Repeatedly Evades Authorities

Nabil al-Marabh.
Nabil al-Marabh engages in many suspicious activities. He stabs his Detroit roommate in the knee during an argument on May 30, 2000. He pleads guilty in December 2000 to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. [Boston Herald, 9/20/01] He is given a six-month suspended sentence, but he fails to report to his probation officer. An arrest warrant is issued for him in March 2001. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01; Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] Al-Marabh lives in Detroit with an al-Qaeda agent named Yousef Hmimssa. [ABC News, 1/31/02; Boston Herald, 9/20/01] Al-Marabh receives five drivers' licenses in Michigan over a period of 13 months in addition to carrying driver's licenses for Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida, and Ontario, Canada. [Toronto Star, 10/26/01] On September 11, 2000, he obtains a Michigan license permitting him to drive semi-trucks containing hazardous materials, including explosives and caustic materials. He is still unsuccessfully trying to find a tractor-trailer driving job one month before 9/11. [ABC News, 1/31/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] In early 2001, he mostly lives in Toronto, Canada, with Hassan Almrei, a man running some al-Qaeda front businesses. [ABC News, 1/31/02] Many witnesses see al-Marabh with two 9/11 hijackers at his uncle's Toronto photocopy store. On June 27, 2001, al-Marabh is arrested while trying to enter the US from Canada in the back of a tractor-trailer, carrying a false Canadian passport and citizenship card. [St. Catherines Standard, 10/2/01; St. Catherines Standard, 9/28/01] He had been illegally crossing the US-Canadian border for years. [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] Despite suspicions that he is connected to al-Qaeda, the US immediately deports him to Canada. [New York Times, 7/13/02] He spends two weeks in a Canadian prison, where he boasts to other prisoners that he is in contact with the FBI. He is ordered to live with his uncle in Toronto. These prisoners are puzzled that the FBI does not try to interview them about al-Marabh after 9/11. Al-Marabh fails to show up for a deportation hearing in August and for a court date in September. [St. Catherines Standard, 10/2/01] “Had Canadian security agents investigated Mr. al-Marabh when they had the chance back in June, when he was jailed by immigration authorities, they may have discovered any number of his worldwide links to convicted and suspected terrorists, including two of the [9/11 hijackers].” [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01]
People and organizations involved: Yousef Hmimssa, Hassan Almrei, Nabil al-Marabh, Federal Bureau of Investigation

January 2001-September 11, 2001: Hijackers Witnessed Preparing False IDs in Toronto Photocopy Shop with al-Marabh

       Numerous witnesses later recall seeing hijackers Mohamed Atta and/or Marwan Alshehhi in Nabil al-Marabh's Toronto apartment building and photocopy shop owned by al-Marabh's uncle at various times during the year. [Toronto Sun, 9/28/01; ABC News, 1/31/02] Some of the dozens of eyewitness accounts say Atta sporadically works in the photocopy shop. [Toronto Sun, 10/21/01] There is a large picture of bin Laden hanging in the store. [Toronto Sun, 10/21/01] Partially completed fake IDs are found in the store and at al-Marabh's apartment. [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01; Toronto Sun, 9/28/01] “Forensic officers said there are similarities in the paper stock, laminates and ink seized from the downtown store and that which was used in identification left behind by the [9/11 hijackers].” [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] US and Canadian police later determine that there is a flurry of phone calls and financial transactions between al-Marabh, Atta, and Alshehhi days before the attacks. [Toronto Sun, 11/16/01] US intelligence also intercepts al-Marabh's associates making post-9/11 phone calls praising attacks. [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] US police say al-Marabh is one of their top five suspects in the 9/11 attacks. Canadian police say he is linked through financial and phone records to some of the suicide pilots, and believe he heads a Toronto al-Qaeda cell. [Toronto Sun, 11/23/01]
People and organizations involved: Nabil al-Marabh, Mohamed Atta, Osama bin Laden, Marwan Alshehhi

Spring 2001: US Customs Investigate Two Hijackers Before 9/11

       A US Customs Service investigation finds evidence that Nabil al-Marabh has funneled money to hijackers Ahmed Alghamdi and Satam Al Suqami. [ABC News, 1/31/02; Cox News Service, 10/16/01] By summer, Customs also uncovers a series of financial transactions between al-Marabh and al-Qaeda agent Raed Hijazi. [Associated Press, 11/17/01; New York Times, 9/21/01] An individual matching al-Marabh's description is even mentioned in a prominent New York Times story about al-Qaeda in January 2001. The article states, “In early 1997, [Raed] Hijazi moved to Boston, where he had a friend from his years in Afghanistan.” [New York Times, 1/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Raed Hijazi, US Customs Service, Satam Al Suqami, Ahmed Alghamdi, Nabil al-Marabh

September 11, 2001: The 9/11 Attack: 3,000 Die in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The September 11, 2001 attacks. From left to right: The World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Flight 93 crash.
The 9/11 attack: Four planes are hijacked, two crash into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and one crashes into the Pennsylvania countryside. Nearly 3,000 people are killed.
People and organizations involved: United Airlines, al-Qaeda, American Airlines, Pentagon, World Trade Center

September 17, 2001: Associates of al-Marabh Arrested on Conspiracy Charges

       Federal agents looking for al-Marabh fail to find him at an old address, but they accidentally discover three other potential terrorists there. Karim Koubriti, Ahmed Hannan, and Farouk Ali-Haimoud are arrested. They worked as dishwashers at the Detroit airport. Investigators believe they were casing the airport for possible security breaches. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] In the apartment, the FBI discovers a day planner that includes notes about the “American base in Turkey,” the “American Foreign Minister,” and “Alia Airport” in Jordan. [Washington Post, 9/20/01] They believe the men were planning to assassinate ex-Defense Secretary William Cohen during a visit to Turkey. [Associated Press, 11/17/01] A stash of false documents is also found, and all three have false passports, Social Security cards, and immigration papers. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02; Boston Herald, 9/20/01] Fake documents linking al-Marabh and another suspected terrorist named Yousef Hmimssa are also found [ABC News, 1/31/02] , as is videotaped surveillance of major tourist spots like Disneyland and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] Abel-Ilah Elmardoudi, the apparent ringleader of this group, is arrested in North Carolina in November 2002. All are tried on terrorism-related charges in 2003. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] Two of the four are convicted of being part of a terrorism conspiracy. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Hannan, Farouk Ali-Haimoud, Yousef Hmimssa, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Abel-Ilah Elmardoudi, Karim Koubriti, William S. Cohen

September 19, 2001: Al-Marabh Arrested, Given Light Prison Sentence on Non-Terrorism Charges

       Nabil al-Marabh is arrested on September 19, 2001, at an Illinois convenience store. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] FBI investigators claim al-Marabh helped the hijackers get false IDs, and helped launder money for al-Qaeda. [ABC News, 1/31/02] The FBI decides not to charge al-Marabh on any terrorism related charge. Instead, on September 3, 2002, Nabil al-Marabh pleads guilty to illegally entering the US, and he is sentenced to only eight months in prison. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] Federal prosecutors claim that “at this time” there is no evidence “of any involvement by [al-Marabh] in any terrorist organization,” even though he has admitted to getting weapons training in Afghanistan. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] The judge states he cannot say “in good conscience” that he approves of the plea bargain worked out between the prosecution and defense, but he seems unable to stop it. He says, “Something about this case makes me feel uncomfortable. I just don't have a lot of information.” The judge has a number of unanswered questions, such as how al-Marabh had $22,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of amber jewels on his possession when he was arrested, despite holding only a sporadic series of low-paying jobs. “These are the things that kind of bother me. It's kind of unusual, isn't it?” says the judge. [National Post, 9/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Nabil al-Marabh

Late 2002: Informant Details Even More of al-Marabh's Terrorist Ties

Nabil al-Marabh.
Nabil al-Marabh is serving an eight month prison sentence for illegally entering the US. A Jordanian in prison with al-Marabh at this time later informs against him, claiming that al-Marabh tells him many details of his terrorism ties. The informant, who shows “a highly detailed knowledge of his former cell-mate's associations and movements” [Globe and Mail, 6/4/04] , claims that al-Marabh:
admitted he sent money to a former roommate, Raed Hijazi, who is later convicted of trying to blow up a hotel in Jordan, and that he aided Hijazi's flight from authorities. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]

planned to die a martyr by stealing a gasoline truck, driving it into the Lincoln or Holland tunnels in New York City, turning it sideways, opening its fuel valves and having an al-Qaeda operative shoot a flare to ignite a massive explosion (the plan is foiled when Hijazi is arrested in Jordan in October 2000). [Associated Press, 6/3/04; Toronto Sun, 10/16/01]

trained on rifles and rocket propelled grenades at militant camps in Afghanistan. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]

boasted about getting drunk with two 9/11 hijackers. [Globe and Mail, 6/4/04]

asked his uncle to hide an important CD from Canadian police. [Globe and Mail, 6/4/04]

claimed he took instructions from a mysterious figure in Chicago known as “al Mosul” which means “boss” in Arabic. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]

acknowledged he distributed as much as $200,000 a month to training camps in Afghanistan in the early 1990's. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
FBI agents are able to confirm portions of the informant's claims. In Chicago, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald drafts an indictment against al-Marabh on multiple counts of making false statements in his interviews with FBI agents. However, Justice headquarters declines prosecution in the name of protecting intelligence sources. Prosecutors in Detroit also develop evidence against al-Marabh but are not allowed to charge him for the same reason. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Patrick Fitzgerald, Raed Hijazi, Nabil al-Marabh, al-Qaeda

January 2004: Nabil al-Marabh Mysteriously Returns to Syria

       After Nabil al-Marabh's eight-month prison sentence is complete in 2003, he remains in a Chicago prison awaiting deportation. However, deportation proceedings are put on hold because federal prosecutors have lodged a material witness warrant against him. When the warrant is dropped, al-Marabh is cleared to be deported to Syria. [Associated Press, 6/3/04; Associated Press, 1/29/03] A footnote in his deportation ruling states, “The FBI has been unable to rule out the possibility that al-Marabh has engaged in terrorist activity or will do so if he is not removed from the United States.” [Associated Press, 6/3/04] Senator Charles Schumer says, “It's hard to believe that the best way to deal with the FBI's 27th most wanted terrorist is to send him back to a terrorist-sponsoring country,” and claims al-Marabh could have been tried in a military tribunal or a classified criminal trial. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: Syria, Nabil al-Marabh, Charles Schumer, Federal Bureau of Investigation

June 2004: Several Senators Demand Ashcroft Explain al-Marabh's Deportation Decision

       The Associated Press reports that both Republicans and Democrats have expressed outrage that al-Marabh was deported in January. Several senators have written letters to Attorney General Ashcroft, demanding an explanation. Charles Grassley (R) states that the circumstances of al-Marabh's deportation—who was “at one time No. 27 on the [FBI] list of Most Wanted Terrorists” —are “of deep concern and appear to be a departure from an aggressive, proactive approach to the war on terrorism.” Patrick Leahy (D) wrote to Ashcroft that “The odd handling of this case raises questions that deserve answers from the Justice Department. ... Why was a suspected terrorist returned to a country that sponsors terrorism? We need to know that the safety of the American people and our strategic goals in countering terrorism are paramount factors when decisions like this are made.” [Associated Press, 6/30/04]
People and organizations involved: Charles Grassley, Patrick Leahy, John Ashcroft, Nabil al-Marabh, US Department of Justice

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