Federal investigators have received evidence that some Middle Easterners in the New York area were warned ahead of time to stay out of lower Manhattan the morning of Sept. 11, according to the New York Daily News. The FBI was able to confirm several such warnings but has been unable to discover their source.

Agents with the FBI?s Joint Terrorist Task Force have interviewed school officials in Jersey City and Brooklyn and questioned members of a Bronx mosque about the warnings. James Margolin, a spokesman for the FBI?s New York office, says, ?Among the e-mails and tips we received are a number of reports of people overhearing people boasting about or warning about coming attacks.?

Jersey City school administrators confirmed that several days before the attack, a student of Middle Eastern background gave a vague warning not to travel into lower Manhattan the morning of Sept. 11. Joanne Kenny, associate superintendent of the Jersey City public schools, says, ?Crisis staff determined that comments made or notes written were serious enough so we called the juvenile bureau of the Jersey City police and they followed up.?

Federal authorities investigated but ?They ran into a dead end, and whoever may have given the warning denied it,? said one source.

In the Bronx, federal investigators received reports about a similar warning at a mosque.

Sources with the Joint Terrorist Task Force questioned dozens of members of the mosque, many of whom told agents they had been given a vague warning to stay out of lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, but the mosque leaders denied having prior knowledge of the attack.

At Brooklyn?s New Utrecht High School, the FBI was notified that a Pakistani student in a bilingual class ?made a comment to a teacher the week prior about the twin towers,? says Karen Finney, spokeswoman for the Board of Education. The Journal-News of Westchester reported yesterday that the student pointed at the tower during a heated political argument and declared, ?Look at those two buildings. They won?t be here next week.?

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