Sept. 19, 2001, 9:26PM
Boy in Dallas suburb predicts start of WW III day before attacks
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
The day before terrorists attacked New York and Washington, a fifth-grader in a Dallas suburb told his teacher World War III would begin the next day, school officials have told the FBI.
The boy was absent from school the day of the attacks, Sept. 11, and the following day, but has been at school since then, said Rhonda Lucich, a director of elementary education for the Garland Independent School District.
Lucich said the boy approached his teacher on the afternoon of Sept. 10 and casually told her:
"Tomorrow, World War III will begin. It will begin in the United States, and the United States will lose."
Lucich said the child's statements were passed along to the FBI. She said she did not know whether the agency had acted on the tip. An FBI spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Lucich said school officials are concerned, but not alarmed.
"It is one of those things I sincerely want to believe was coincidental," Lucich said.
Lucich declined to name the elementary school involved. She said she was told about the boy's comment by his teacher and the school's principal two days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
She said the boy is multiracial but that she does not believe his ethnicity includes a Middle Eastern background.
U.S. officials believe Middle Eastern terrorists linked to Saudi Arabian exile Osama bin Laden are responsible for last week's attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
Garland is a northern suburb of Dallas. Two charities in the neighboring suburb of Richardson have been investigated in the past for possible ties to Palestinian terrorist organizations.
The Global Relief Foundation Inc. and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, both based in Richardson, have been investigated on allegations they raised money for Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization. Both organizations have denied such activity.