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Father Denies Sons Were Hijackers

March 16, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) _ The father of two accused Sept. 11 hijackers denied his sons were terrorists _ but said in a television interview aired Friday that he would never forgive them if they were.

``If that turns out to be the truth, then I will never, never accept it from them,″ Mohammad Alshehri told ABC News’ 20/20 program broadcast from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

``I’ll never forgive them for that,″ he said.

U.S. authorities say two sons of his sons, Waleed and Wael Alshehri, were among the men who hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, crashing it into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

But Alshehri, a prominent real estate developer, said he had no proof his sons were involved in the hijacking.

``I never received any news like this, But also, even if I receive it, I wouldn’t believe it,″ he said. ``And even if they were on board that plane, maybe they were just passengers.″

The father of another suspected hijacker, Ahmed Alnami, said his son had gone to Mecca to look for work, not to the United States to be trained as a terrorist, as U.S. authorities claim.

Investigators say Alnami was on board United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.

Abdullah Alnami said his son left home _ for the first time in his life _ six months before Sept. 11.

``He called only once and he promised he would keep calling, and I haven’t heard from him since then,″ the father told ABC News.

He said he ``felt sorry″ when he heard about the hijacking attacks. ``I was shocked. It affected me very much.″

But he said Saudi authorities never identified his son as one of the hijackers, and he needed ``clear evidence″ proving whether he was ``dead or alive.″

Fifteen of the 19 alleged hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

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