Fact Check

911 Hijackers and Cell Phones

Did hijackers use a graphic cell phone message to communicate the success of their terrorist attack on New York City?

Published Sep 23, 2001


Item:   Picture shows message sent by terrorists via cell phone to communicate success of attack on New York City.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]

Attached is a picture of the cel phone message sent from the hijackers . . .

A text-and-graphics message began to circulate, via the mobile telephones of terrorist sympathisers throughout the Middle East, showing an aeroplane crashing into a skyscraper with the caption: "It hit and did not miss" in Arabic.

Origins:   We don't know where this graphic came from, but if nothing else, it serves as a reminder of the contrast between the extensive organization and technical sophistication behind the terrorist scheme to hijack and crash American airliners, and the decidedly low-tech means — knives, box cutters, and phony bombs — used to pull it off.

(The Economist used this graphic to accompany an article about the techniques used by terrorists, but we haven't yet been able to determine if it originated with them.)

Last updated:   7 April 2008

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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