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Stuck in Germany Before 9/11, Suspect Hatched Marriage Plot

For the young men in what would later come to be called the Hamburg cell, Ramzi Binalshibh was a leader. It was Binalshibh who connected the group to the broader jihadist movements then coalescing across the Arab world. It was he who brought new members into the group and eased tensions when they arose. And it was Binalshibh, a native of the same region of Yemen as Osama bin Laden’s family, who later formed a close bond with Bin Laden as the Sept. 11 plot against America progressed. But as the other men left Hamburg for the United States or Afghanistan in the summer of 2000, and Binalshibh was frustrated in his attempt to obtain a U.S. visa, he appeared to at least one woman as little more than a lost, lonely man desperate for companionship. Within 36 hours of a chance meeting in Berlin that July, according to transcripts of investigators’ interviews obtained by The Times, Binalshibh proposed marriage to her. She was decidedly not like the typical wife of a radical Muslim fundamentalist. In fact, about the only thing the woman and Binalshibh seemed to have in common was that they were alone. Full Story

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