PM says he suggested Iranians might use militants loyal to them in the West to plant a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a press conference on September 11, 2001, at a time when he did not hold a political position, and announced that he had predicted attacks on the World Trade Center six years before they had taken place.
Netanyahu distributed to the reporters copies of pages of his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism.
“After an interlude of several years in which the vigil against terrorism was relaxed, new forces of domestic and international terror have emerged,” Netanyahu wrote in the book’s prelude. “Chief among them are the various strains of militant Islam, which likewise see their ultimate destiny as leading to a final confrontation with the Great Satan, the United States.”
Later in the book, Netanyahu suggested that the Iranians might use militants loyal to them in the West to plant a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.
“This may sound incredible or beyond the realm of possibility,” Netanyahu wrote.
“Unfortunately, it is not. Anyone familiar with the warped fanaticism and increasing technical proficiency of Islamic militants cannot rule it out as a growing danger.”
Netanyahu predicted at the September 11, 2001, press conference that the day would be a turning point in the history of the United States, similar to the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks.
He used the press conference to attack plans for the West Bank security fence, saying that Israel could not build a fence taller than the Twin Towers.
American writer Daniel Pipes criticized Netanyahu in a 2009 article for claiming to have predicted the September 11 attacks.
“A nuclear bombing of the twin towers would have rendered all of New York City uninhabitable for generations,” he wrote. “The two airliners on 9/11 brought down the World Trade Center and destroyed nearby buildings, but otherwise New York City remains very much inhabited and alive today, a dynamic world capital.”
Noting more recent claims by Netanyahu that he had predicted “militant Islam bringing down the World Trade Center,” Pipes’s verdict was that Netanyahu did not predict 9/11.
“The discrepancy between the actual text of the 1995 book and recent claims reveals something small but troubling about Netanyahu’s character, reminding me of the politician who served unsuccessfully as prime minister in the 1990s rather than an older and wiser ‘new Bibi,’” Pipes wrote.