Contrary to previous statements made by the FBI to the news media, a family living in the south Sarasota neighborhood of Prestancia had “many connections” to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to newly released FBI documents.
The family, Anoud and Abdulazziz al-Hijji, had links to 9/11 hijackers — including Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, who trained at a Venice flight school in preparation for the assault on New York and Washington, D.C., that killed 2,996.
Anoud al-Hijji is the daughter of Esam Ghazzawi, a powerful Saudi businessman with long ties to the Saudi royal family. The al-Hijjis have denied any involvement or relationship with the 9/11 hijackers.
But the family abruptly left the Prestancia home that they had lived in for six years roughly a week before the 9/11 attacks, leaving behind clothes, food, children’s toys and other living essentials.
The Telegraph UK reported in February 2012:
“A Saudi Arabian accused of associating with several of the September 11 hijackers and who disappeared from his home in the United States a few weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, is in London working for his country’s state oil company.
Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud left three cars at their luxurious home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida — one of them new — and flew to Saudi Arabia in August 2001. The refrigerator was full of food; furniture and clothing were left behind; and the swimming pool water was still circulating.
Security records of cars passing through a checkpoint at the Prestancia gated community indicated that Mr al-Hijji’s home, 4224 Escondito Circle, had been visited a number of times by Mohamed Atta, the leader of the 19-strong hijack team, who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in 2001.
The logs also indicated that Marwan Al-Shehhi, who crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower, and Ziad Jarrah, who was at the controls of United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, had visited the house.
All three men had trained to fly at Venice Airport, which is 19 miles from Sarasota.”