Malaysia A Malaysian man recruited by al-Qaida to pilot a plane in a second wave of Sept. 11-style attacks on the United States has been in custody in his homeland since December 2002, Southeast Asian security officials said Friday.
The recruit, Zaini Zakaria, pulled out of the plot after seeing the carnage at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and was unwilling to die as a martyr for Islam, the officials said.
They spoke with The Associated Press a day after President Bush outlined details of an alleged plot to use shoe bombs to blow open the cockpit door of a commercial jetliner, take control of the plane and crash it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles, a 73-story building since renamed the US Bank Tower.
Bush said cooperation between the U.S. and several Asian countries helped expose the plot, which he said was derailed when a Southeast Asian nation arrested a key al-Qaida operative. Bush did not name the country or the operative.