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'FBI tipped off before attacks'. US warnings prior to September 11

g and compass

The Independent

'FBI tipped off before attacks'

War against terrorism: US warnings prior to September 11

By Hugh Dougherty in New York

13 October 2001

The FBI is investigating claims that some people in New York had warning of the 11 September attacks. Detectives confirmed on Friday that several warnings were made, but have yet to find their ultimate source and are still investigating the possible tip-offs, the New York Daily News reported.

An FBI spokesman, James Margolin, told the newspaper on Friday: "Among the e-mails and tips we received are reports of people overhearing people boasting about or warning about coming attacks."

The most serious of the alleged warnings was given by an unnamed pupil at a school in Jersey City, which lies across the Hudson river from where the World Trade Centre stood and where a number of the hijackers lived. The pupil gave the warning several days before the attacks and told people not to travel to lower Manhattan on the morning of 11 September.

Jersey City schools' superintendent Joanne Kenny said: "Staff determined that comments made or notes written were serious enough so we called the juvenile bureau of the police and they followed it up."

The force handed the warnings to the FBI's joint terrorist task force. A source close to the FBI said: "They ran into a dead end, and whoever gave the warning denied it."

Dozens of members of a mosque in the Bronx told the FBI they had also been given a vague warning to stay out of lower Manhattan. But the mosque's leaders denied having prior knowledge of the attack.

A third warning being investigated is said to involve a Pakistani pupil at a Brooklyn secondary school who told a teacher during a heated political argument: "Look at those two buildings. They won't be here next week."

A spokesman for New York's education authority said: "I don't know what the status of the FBI's investigation is."

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