The title “Hamburg cell” was given to a group of young Muslims, most of them students from the Arab world, which knew each other in Hamburg, Germany in the years 1998-99 and later becomethe terrorists that carried out The 9/11.
In the beginning of 1998 Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemenite that just got a visa to Germany, met in a local mosque in Hamburg an Egyptian student Mohamed Atta. They found common language and in January 1998 moved together to a large 4 rooms apartment in Marianstrasse with a third friend Said Bahaji. They designated one room for prayers as they already considered the local mosque – Al Quds – as too lenient for them.
Other Muslims from the local community joined them socially and prayed with them, among them Ziad Jarrah , Mounir el Motassadeq , Abdelghani Mzoudi, Said Bahaji and other 21 members. All connected to The 9/11 in some degree.
In 1999 the war in Chechnya inflamed the Muslims in the world and they contacted Mohamedou Ould Slahi to help then reach Chechnya and to join the war. Mohamedou Ould Slahi told them first to go to Afghanistan and prepare themselves for the war. In 11/1999 Marwan al-Shehi , Mohamed Atta and Ziad Jarrah left to Afghanistan through Pakistan. Ramzi Binalshibh came two weeks later. In Afghanistan the first contact with Khalid Shaik Mohammed was made. Osama Bin Laden himself met Mohamed Atta and was impressed of his character and integrity.
Between 1999 up to shortly before The 9/11 the Al Quds Mosque in Hambourg, also known as Taiba Mosque, was led by the most extreme Moroccan Imam Mohamed Fizazi, who had a profound influence on the determination of the Hamburg Cell members.
The Hamburg cell members, while in Afghanistan, where convinced to join officially Al Qaeda and the leadership of Al Qaeda were certain that the Hamburg cell members, accustomed to the western society, are the most suitable to carry out the new modification of Bojinka Plot – which became The 9/11.
Since then there was a continuous connections between the Hamburg cell and Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan including a visit of Khalid Shaik Mohammed in the apartment in Hamburg and several travels of the members of the Hamburg cell to Afghanistan. At the beginning of 2001 most of the members of the Hamburg cell left Germany for their missions.
Even though the Apartment in Hamburg, as well as most members of the Cell, were under supervision of the German security service and the CIA – nothing suspicious was revealed.