On the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the terrorist network al-Qaeda published a book about the lead-up to the large-scale attack. The Egyptian Abu Mohammed al-Masri, a high-ranking al-Qaeda member who is said to have been killed in Iran in 2020, is named as the author. The approximately 250-page book states that al-Qaeda had been preparing attacks on US targets since the mid-1990s. The aim was to drag the USA into a war of attrition that lasted for years.
According to the book, the idea for the attacks, which killed around 3,000 people, goes back to an Egyptian pilot. He suggested flying a passenger plane into an "important and symbolic American building". Al Qaeda members who signed up for flight schools were initially unaware of the plans. They were led to believe that once they had completed their training, they would in future fly al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden's private plane.
According to the book, according to the original plans, Europeans or US citizens should have piloted the planes because they would have had easier access to flight schools. After discussions with many members, however, only a few had shown any interest in a suicide attack. Only then did al-Qaeda begin the search for possible candidates from Yemen and the Gulf region. The first training for the attacks took place in December 1998.