Part found near World Trade Center from Boeing jet

Sept 11 Landing Gear

Crime scene tape and a New York City police officer block the service entrance to the site of a proposed Islamic community center in New York City, after a 5-foot-tall piece of landing gear has been discovered wedged between it and a luxury high-rise apartment building, Friday, April 26, 2013. The wreckage is believed to be from one of the hijacked planes destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Tom Hays)

Landing Gear Sept. 11

This Friday, April 26, 2013, photo provided by the New York City Police Department shows a piece of landing gear that authorities believe belongs to one of the airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, that was found wedged between a mosque and another building, in New York. Police say the medical examiner's office will complete a health and safety evaluation to determine whether to sift the soil around the buildings for possible human remains. (AP Photo/New York City Police Department)

Sept 11 Landing Gear

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly uses a sketch drawing to show where part of a planes landing gear was found, Friday, April 26, 2013, in New York. A part of a landing gear, apparently from one of the commercial airliners destroyed on September 11, 2001, has been discovered wedged between the rear of 51 Park Place and the rear of the building behind it, 50 Murray Street, in lower Manhattan.(AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

Sept 11 Landing Gear

The entrance of 51 Park Place is cordoned off by police, Friday, April 26, 2013, in New York. A part of a landing gear, apparently from one of the commercial airliners destroyed on September 11, 2001, has been discovered wedged between the rear of 51 Park Place and the rear of the building behind it, 50 Murray Street, in lower Manhattan.(AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

Sept 11 Landing Gear

In this April 26, 2013 photo provided by WNBC-TV in New York, a section of wreckage from a landing gear bearing a Boeing serial number is shown. The landing gear was found wedged in between two New York City buildings not far from the World Trade Center construction site. It�s believed to be from one of the airliners that were crashed into the World Trade Center in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/WNBC-TV) MANDATORY CREDIT NO SALES

A rusted piece of airplane landing gear discovered wedged between a mosque and an apartment building and believed to be from one of the hijacked planes that destroyed the nearby World Trade Center on Sept. 11 has been confirmed as coming from the type of Boeing jet used in the attacks.
Police said Saturday that detectives had been in contact with officials at Chicago-based Boeing Co. who confirmed the wreckage was from a Boeing 767. Police have said the landing gear had a clearly visible Boeing identification number.
The American Airlines and United Airlines planes hijacked by Islamic extremists in 2001 were Boeing 767s. Boeing spokesman John Dern said he could not confirm whether the ID matched the American Airlines plane or the United Airlines plane.
Workers discovered the landing gear part on Wednesday between a luxury loft rental building and a mosque that in 2010 prompted virulent national debate about Islam and freedom of speech because it's just blocks from ground zero.
On Saturday, yellow police tape blocked access to a metal door that leads to the hidden alley behind the planned Islamic community center, known as Park51.
The medical examiner's office plans to search for Sept. 11 human remains in the alley.
The chief medical examiner's spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, said the area first will be tested as part of a standard health and safety evaluation for possible toxicity. She said sifting for human remains is to begin Tuesday morning.
Retired fire department Deputy Chief Jim Riches, who lost his son in the terrorist attacks, visited the site on Saturday. He said the latest news left him feeling "upset."
"The finding of this landing gear," he said, "just goes to show that we need federal people in here to do a comprehensive, full search of lower Manhattan to make sure that we don't get any more surprises," as happened in 2007 when body parts were discovered in nearby sewers and manhole covers.
Of the nearly 3,000 victims, Riches noted, about 1,000 families have never recovered any remains.
The New York Police Department has declared the alley a crime scene where nothing may be disturbed until the medical examiner's office completes its work. It's unclear how long that may take, Borakove said.
The piece of wreckage was discovered by surveyors inspecting the planned Islamic community center on behalf of the building's owner, police said.
The twisted metal part _ jammed in an 18-inch (46-centimeter)-wide, trash-laden passageway between the buildings _ has cables and levers on it and is about 5 feet (1.5 meters) high, 17 inches (43 centimeters) wide and 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday.
"It's a manifestation of a horrific terrorist act a block and a half away from where we stand," he said after visiting the alley.
The commissioner noted that a piece of rope intertwined with the part looks like a broken pulley that may have come down from the roof of the Islamic community center.
When plans for the center became public in 2010, opponents said they didn't want a mosque so close to where Islamic extremists attacked, but supporters said the center would promote harmony between Muslims and followers of other faiths.
The building includes a Muslim prayer space that has been open for three years. After protests died down, the center hosted its first exhibit last year. The space remains under renovation.
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AP radio correspondent Julie Walker and AP reporter Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.