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September 11 Attack Mastermind Admits Killing Daniel Pearl

Posted: March 26, 2007

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a former senior Al Qaeda operative, told a U.S. military court he personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, according to testimony released by the Pentagon on March 22, 2007.


Mohammed, captured in Pakistan in March 2003 and designated an enemy combatant, also told a combatant status review tribunal in Guantánamo Bay that he was the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and that he carried out or planned dozens of other plots, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, according to the 26-page transcript.

 "I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan," the transcript reads. "For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head."


Mohammed described himself in the transcript as the "military operational commander for all foreign operations around the world" for Al Qaeda.


Combatant status review tribunals were created in response to a 2004 decision by the United States Supreme Court to judge whether prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were properly designated as enemy combatants and subject to indefinite detention.


The attorney for Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born man sentenced to death for his involvement in Pearl's killing, said that he would use Muhammad's confession to appeal his client's sentence.  


Daniel Pearl was the Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief when was abducted in Pakistan in January 2002. A videotape of Pearl's slaying was distributed on the internet, but the face of the killer who beheaded Pearl could not be seen.

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