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Czech PM: Atta considered Prague attack

Atta is one of the key suspects in the September 11 attacks
Atta is one of the key suspects in the September 11 attacks  

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (CNN) -- Suspected terrorist hijacker Mohammed Atta contacted an Iraqi agent to discuss a terror attack on the Radio Free Europe building in the Czech capital, Prague, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman told CNN.

Zeman told CNN on Friday that Atta had met the Iraqi agent twice in the run-up to the suicide plane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

U.S. officials believe that Atta was at the cockpit controls of one of the two planes that crashed into the twin towers in New York.

Atta had told the agent that it was to be the Radio Free Europe building in Prague which was to be the target, the prime minister said.

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"At first, Atta contacted some Iraq agent not to prepare the terroristic attack on" the twin towers, "but to prepare terroristic attack on just the building of Radio Free Europe," Zeman said.

He said there were plans to use "standard explosives" to destroy the building.

"That's all we know."

The diplomat, Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir Ani, was expelled from the country two weeks after the meeting, Zeman added.

The information adds to details given by the Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross last month about Atta meeting at least twice in the Czech capital with an Iraqi agent.

That had confirmed information U.S. officials had supplied to CNN in September.

Gross had said that "details of the meeting are being investigated," but that the meeting "is not regarded as proof" that the Iraqis were connected with the September 11 terror attacks.

Iraq has repeatedly denied any such meeting took place.

Transitions Online: The Prague connection 

CNN first reported on September 19 that U.S. officials had information about a meeting between Atta and Iraqi agents earlier this year, but said at the time they did not think Iraq was involved.

The officials did not reveal the name of any Iraqis involved.

Officials later told CNN that the April meeting was actually Atta's second with Iraqi agents in Prague.

The first meeting was in June 2000, and in both meetings the Iraqis were operating under "official cover" as diplomats.

Zeman also said that support has been offered to the United States in the war on terror -- an anti-chemical unit, Czech rangers, field hospitals and planes.


• Radio Free Europe
• Czech Government

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