Nawaf al-Hamzi (August 9th, 1976 - September 11th, 2001) was a Saudi citizen and one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which they crashed into the Pentagon as part of the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Hazmi and a longtime friend, Khalid al-Mihdhar, left their homes in Saudi Arabia in 1995 to fight for Muslims in the Bosnian War. Hazmi later traveled to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against the Afghan Northern Alliance. He returned to Saudi Arabia in early 1999.
Already long time affiliates of Al-Qaeda with extensive fighting experience, Hazmi and Mihdhar were chosen by Osama bin Laden for an ambitious terrorist plot to pilot commercial airlines into designated targets in the United States. Hazmi and Mihdhar both obtained US tourist visas in April 1999. Hazmi trained in an Al-Qaeda training camp in the fall of 1999. He traveled to Malaysia for the 2000 Al-Qaeda Summit.
Hazmi arrived in Los Angeles, California from Bangkok, Thailand, on January 15, 2000, with Khalid al-Mihdhar. The two settled in San Diego, staying at the Parkwood Apartments until May 2000. While in San Diego, they attended its mosque, led by Anwar Al-Awlaki. The two took flying lessons during that month in San Diego. Due to Hazmi and Mihdhar's poor English skills, they did not perform well during their flight lessons and their flight instructor regarded them as suspicious.
Mihdhar left Hazmi in California for Yemen in June 2000. Hazmi stayed in California until he met up with Hani Hanjour in December 2000, and they both traveled to Phoenix, Arizona. They later moved to Falls Church, Virginia in April 2001, where the rest of the hijackers began to join them. Hazmi met frequently with Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the attacks, during the summer of 2001.
The CIA reportedly received Hazmi's name on a list of 19 persons suspected of planning an attack in the near future. Hazmi was one of the four names on the list who were known for certain. A search for Hazmi and other suspected terrorists commenced, but they were not located until after the attacks.
On September 10, 2001, Hazmi, along with Mihdhar and Hanjour checked into a hotel in Herndon, Virginia. The next morning, Hazmi and four other terrorists, boarded American Airlines Flight 77 at Dulles Airport and hijacked the plane so that Hani Hanjour could pilot and crash the plane into the Pentagon as part of the September 11 attacks. The crash killed all 64 passengers aboard the aircraft and 125 in the Pentagon. Hazmi was initially dismissed as a "muscle hijacker" following the attacks, but was later revealed to have played a larger role in the operational planning than previously believed. His younger brother, Salem al-Hazmi, was another of the hijackers aboard the same flight.
Nawaf al-Hazmi's 1988 blue Toyota Corolla was found on the next day in Dulles International Airport's hourly parking lot. Inside the vehicle, authorities found a letter written by Mohamed Atta, maps of Washington, D.C. and New York City, a cashier's check made out to a Phoenix flight school, four drawings of a Boeing 757 cockpit, a box cutter, and a page with notes and phone numbers.
In the recovery process at the Pentagon, remains of all five Flight 77 hijackers were identified through a process of elimination, as not matching any DNA samples for the victims, and put into custody of the FBI. Forensics teams confirmed that it seemed two of the hijackers were brothers, based on their DNA similarities.
Several weeks after the attacks, a Las Vegas Days Inn employee went to the FBI and stated that she recognized Hazmi's photographs from the media as being a man she had met at the hotel, who had asked for details on hotels near Los Angeles. She admitted that he never gave his name.