This Day In History: 02/26/1993 - World Trade Center Bombed

This Day In History: 02/26/1993 - World Trade Center Bombed


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Russell Mitchell gives us a recap of some of the major historical events that occurred on February 26th in this video clip from This Day in History. From Napoleon Bonaparte, to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels this date has historical significance. Both the Grand Canyon and the Teton Mountains were preserved as National Parks on this day a decade apart. Also on this day was the first attack on the Twin Towers, which led to it's later attack on September 11, 2001.


THIS DAY IN HISTORY – 26th FEBRUARY

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in people, and hence, every day has been a significant one in the foibles of history. Now, let’s take a tour of “This Day in History – 26th February.”

1802: Victor Hugo’s Birth

Victor Marie Hugo, a very reputed icon of French literature and culture was born on this day. ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ are his most loved works. It took him 15 years to complete Les Miserables, which was written during his exile period. “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”, is one of his most famous quotes.

Source – ThoughtCo.com

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from exile.

Napoleon was the Emperor and military leader of France. He was forced into exile on the island of Elba by the coalition against him. On this day after an exile of 10 months, Napoleon escaped Elba to return to France only to rule for 100 days which were terminated by his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo.

Source – History.com

1946: Mrinal Pande was born

Padma Shri awardee, journalist and author Mrinal Pande was born on this day. She is the daughter of Shivani, a renowned novelist of Hindi literature. Mrinal Pande was the chief editor of Hindi daily Hindustan until 2009. She has also been the chairperson of Prasar Bharti. With some splendid short stories and books to her credit, she is a popular figure in literary circles.

Source – Thedailyeye.info

1952: Britain’s first atomic bomb ready.

On this day, the then President of Britain, Winston Churchill announced that they have successfully made an Atomic Bomb. The bomb was tested at an Australian island, Montebello. In the words of Lieutenant Commander, Robert Scrivenor, “ There was a brilliant orange flash, followed by a boiling cloud of smoke, dust and water, shooting up into the sky with dramatic speed. ”

Source – The West Australian dated 28th February 1952.

1993: Car bombing at the World Trade Center.

On February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in a parking garage of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City. Six people were killed whereas more than 1000 were injured. Six people were captured and convicted with Ramzi Yousef, the alleged leader. In the horrific attack of 26/11 on WTC, Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh was named as the chief conspirator.

Source – Britannica

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World Trade Center bombing 1993: Victims, investigation, impact on NYC and more

Bomb Squad investigators at the World Trade Center look for evidence on a lower level ledge, as construction workers at the bottom remove rubble from the center of the crater on March 12, 1993. Photo Credit: Fort47 Films

Tuesday marks the 26th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people, injured more than 1,000 and shifted America’s understanding of international terrorism.

On Feb. 26, 1993, the World Trade Center was rocked when a van loaded with explosives detonated inside a parking garage under the north tower.

The bombing, which left a crater in the ground that was nearly 150 feet wide and three stories deep, sent shock waves through the city and the country.

To commemorate the anniversary, the families of the six people who were killed will gather Tuesday with survivors of the attack in the 9/11 Memorial Plaza to read the names of those who perished.

Read on for more on the victims, the aftermath, the men who carried out the attack and how the bombing shaped New York City.

At 12:18 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, 1993, 1,200 pounds of explosives were detonated inside a van parked in the B2 level garage of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

The explosion, located under the Vista Hotel, crumbled three concrete slab floors of the north tower, shook the upper floors of the two 110-story buildings and filled them with thick, black smoke.

When the dust settled, six people were dead and more than 1,000 were injured.

It was the first time in the city’s recorded history that a 16-alarm response had been triggered by the FDNY.

First responders from the FDNY, EMS, NYPD and Port Authority police, as well as 130 fire engines and 57 pumpers, swarmed the scene within minutes. Rescue efforts began as an estimated 40,000 workers and visitors evacuated both towers through smoke-clogged stairwells.

The blast had caused both the primary and backup power systems to fail, plunging both towers into intermittent darkness. Elevators stalled, and the speaker system was knocked out, hampering communication and evacuation efforts, which ultimately took hours. First responders had to walk up dozens of flights of stairs to rescue stranded office workers and visitors.

Stories of everyday New Yorkers spurred into acts of heroism permeated the news.

By 8:30 p.m., police had logged 23,000 emergency calls — double what the department usually received on an average Friday at the time.

The explosion was initially thought to be related to a malfunction in transformer equipment, but it was quickly determined to be explosives once investigators realized the massive size of the crater left behind. Debris from the B2 level, where the bomb went off, fell three stories to the mezzanine and PATH station.

John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen Knapp, William Macko, Wilfredo Mercado and Monica Rodriguez Smith, who was pregnant, were killed in the bombing.

Initial reports listed five people dead and two people missing, but it was later determined that one of the men who was unaccounted for had gone home after evacuating and the other man, Mercado, was believed to be dead but buried under debris at the explosion site.

DiGiovanni, 45, was a dental supply salesman with Kerr Manufacturing Co. He was the only visitor at the World Trade Center to be killed in the explosion.

Mercado, 37, worked for International Hilton Co. as a purchasing agent for Windows on the World. His body was not recovered until March 15 — 17 days after the blast.

The other victims were employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned and operated the World Trade Center complex.

Kirkpatrick, 61, was a senior structural maintenance supervisor at the World Trade Center. Knapp, 47, was a chief mechanical supervisor. Macko, 57, was an assistant chief mechanical supervisor. Smith, 35, was the mechanical unit secretary.

Smith’s husband, Edward Smith, read a statement during the sentencing phase of the trial against the men behind the bombing, describing how he and his wife were happily anticipating the birth of their son.

As the investigation into the cause of the explosion began in earnest, firsthand accounts from survivors poured in: schoolchildren visiting the World Trade Center on a field trip who were trapped in an elevator wheelchair-bound workers who were carried down dozens of flights of stairs by selfless co-workers volunteer firefighters who just happened to be nearby when the bomb went off and rushed in to help first responders a pregnant woman and five other people who were rescued from the observation deck of the south tower by a helicopter.

Then-Mayor David Dinkins was in Japan that day. He opted to remain there for another day so that he could be briefed on the investigation rather than being unreachable on a 14-hour flight.

Security was immediately tightened at all three area airports as well as landmarks around the city and across the country while then-President Bill Clinton placed phone calls to Dinkins and Gov. Mario Cuomo in Albany.

Anonymous, unfounded bomb threats at the Empire State Building, the United Nations building, Penn Station and LaGuardia and Kennedy airports complicated security efforts as city officials grappled with trying to make New Yorkers feel safe.

Meanwhile, business at the World Trade Center had come to a screeching halt. The bombing disrupted hundreds of businesses, from banks to retail and hotels.

Cleanup efforts began the day after the bombing and lasted for several months. Crews worked nearly around the clock to clear debris and repair structural damage.

The south tower reopened first, on March 18, 1993, while the north tower remained closed until April 1. The cost to repair both towers was estimated at $250 million, according to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation quickly took over the investigation from the Port Authority police and closed off the site from the public.

Two days later, James Fox, director of the FBI’s New York office, said nitrates were found in air samples and confirmed it was a bombing. Then-NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police had fielded more than 40 callers claiming responsibility for the attack.

Investigators scoured through surveillance tapes, parking stubs and witness accounts while the Port Authority offered a $100,000 reward for information that led to an arrest.

On March 3, 1993, a Ryder rental van that was believed to have been hiding the explosives was pulled from the wreckage and traced back to a store in Jersey City, New Jersey, which had reported it stolen a day prior to the blast.

One day later, on March 4, Mohammed Salameh was arrested at the Ryder agency in Jersey City when he tried to claim a $400 deposit on the van. Investigators said other suspects were still being sought.

Six men were found guilty of carrying out the bombing, while one suspect remains at large.

The trial for four of the defendants — Mahmud Abouhalima, Ahmad Ajaj, Nidal Ayyad and Mohammed Salameh — began on Oct. 4, 1993. They were convicted five months later on March 4, 1994, and sentenced to 240 years each.

Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy said at the sentencing that the number 240 was calculated by adding the years presumably lost by the victims to the mandatory sentences, but the four were later resentenced in 1999, each receiving more than 100 years in prison.

The suspected mastermind of the bombing, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was captured in Pakistan in February 1995 and convicted of conspiracy in November 1997. He was sentenced to life plus 240 years in prison by Duffy, who said Yousef should be held in solitary confinement and not be allowed to call his family. “Your God is not Allah,” Duffy said. “You worship death and destruction.”

At his sentencing, Yousef said, “I am a terrorist and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government,” according to a CNN report at the time.

Yousef had separately been convicted in a plot to bomb several American airliners over the Far East in January 1995.

Eyad Ismoil, who was accused of driving the van, was also convicted in November 1997 and sentenced to life plus 240 years in prison.

A seventh man, Abdul Rahman Yasin, is believed to have helped build the bombs but was never arrested. In 2002, he was found and interviewed by CBS News, but he hasn’t been heard of or seen since.

All of the men involved were believed to be followers of Omar Abdel Rahman, an Islamic cleric in Jersey City, who was convicted in 1995 for conspiracy in a plot to wage “a war of urban terrorism.” That plot included the 1993 bombing as well as failed plans to bomb the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and 26 Federal Plaza.

The bombing was the first time Americans became aware of the dangers of international terrorism. “Not an awful lot of people thought about how vulnerable we were,” U.S. Marshal for New York Joseph Guccione told The Associated Press in 2008. “It was a terrible lesson that was learned.”

“Before the attack in 1993, the name Al-Qaeda was not a part of the American lexicon,” Rep. Michael McCaul wrote in a New York Daily News op-ed published on the 20th anniversary of the attack.

The bombing “was a tipping point in what would become a new type of war against the evolving threat of terrorism,” wrote McCaul, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

In the years that followed the bombing, security in lower Manhattan began to change. Steel barriers were added outside of buildings, roads near federal buildings were restricted and the steps of City Hall were closed to the public unless people went through security booths. That security and the so-called war on terror would escalate even further after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.


February 26, 1993 World Trade Center

Ramzi Yousef arrived at JFK International Airport on September 1, 1992, traveling under a false Iraqi passport. His companion Ahmed Ajaj tried to enter with a forged Swedish passport, and was arrested. Though his entry was illegal, Yousef was claiming political asylum. He was given a hearing date before an INS magistrate, and admitted.

After setting up residence in Jersey City, Yousef connected with the blind Muslim cleric Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman at the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn. There he was introduced to his co-conspirators, immediately beginning the assembly of a 1,310 lb urea-nitrogen hydrogen gas enhanced explosive device.

Yousef was injured in a car crash in late 1992, and ordered many of the chemicals for this device from his hospital bed. It’s surprising how easy it was for these guys.

The plan was to attack the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, toppling it into the south tower and taking them both down.

The conspirators believed they’d kill 250,000.

The yellow Ryder van entered lower Manhattan on the morning of Friday, February 26, 1993, driven by Ramzi Yousef and Eyad Ismoil. The pair pulled into the B-2 underground parking level under the north tower, lit the 20′ fuse, and fled.

As with the device used in the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983, this was a fuel-air explosive (FAE), designed to magnify and sustain the blast effect by mixing fuel with atmospheric oxygen. The main charge was surrounded by aluminum, magnesium and ferric oxide particles and surrounded by three hydrogen gas cylinders, to intensify the fireball and afterburn of those solid metal particles.

The US Defense Intelligence Agency conducted a study of fuel-air explosives, reporting: “What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs…. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents”.

Ramzi Yousef is said to have considered adding cyanide in the bomb, and later regretted not having done so.

The terrorist device exploded at 12:17:37, hurling super-heated gasses from the blast center at thirteen times the speed of sound. Estimated pressure reached 150,000 psi, equivalent to the weight of 10 bull elephants.

The bomb ripped a 98-foot wide hole through four sub-levels of concrete, killing five Port Authority employees and A dental products salesman, who was parking at the time. The real death toll was seven, if you’re inclined to include secretary Monica Rodriguez Smith’s seven-month pregnancy. She was killed with her unborn baby, while checking timesheets.

Another 15 were left with with traumatic blast injuries. 1,042 more were injured, many inhaling the thick, acrid smoke filling stairwells and elevator shafts.

Power went out instantly trapping hundreds in elevators, including a group of 17 kindergartners, on their way down from the south tower observation deck.

Engineers believe that the terrorists would have accomplished their purpose of toppling the building, had they placed their explosive device closer to the building’s concrete foundations.

300 FBI agents combed through the rubble of the underground parking garage, finding an axle fragment containing the Ryder van’s VIN. Mohammed Salameh, who had rented the vehicle, reported the van stolen and was arrested on March 4, when he came to get his deposit back.

Mahmud Aboulhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Ahmed Ajaj and Nidal Ayyad were convicted of carrying out the bombing, in March 1994. Mastermind Ramzi Yousef and van driver Eyad Ismoil, were convicted in November, 1997. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was deported to Jordan.

Abdul Rahman Yasmin, the only person associated with the bombing who was never prosecuted in the United States, was interviewed for a 60 minutes segment in 2002. He was being held prisoner in Baghdad at that time. He has not been seen or heard of, since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “The Blind Sheikh”, Omar Abdul Rahman, was convicted in October 1995 of seditious conspiracy, and sentenced to life +15 years. He died in prison last week, at the age of 78.

A granite memorial fountain was erected above the site of the explosion and dedicated in 1995, bearing the names of the six adult victims of the attack. Under the names appear this inscription. “On February 26, 1993, a bomb set by terrorists exploded below this site. This horrible act of violence killed innocent people, injured thousands, and made victims of us all.”

The fountain was destroyed with the rest of the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001.


February 26, 1993 – World Trade Center Bombing Brings Down Towers

A little after noon, a truck bomb exploded in the parking garage under the World Trade Center, setting off a chain of collapse that would bring down the two principle towers of the WTC complex. The North Tower (also known as Tower One) would hold for several minutes before giving way, toppling into the South Tower, which would also fall. While many office workers had just left for lunch, the buildings were largely occupied, and the bombing would kill nearly three thousand Americans and leave thousands more injured.

Downtown New York City became flooded with rescue operations and helping survivors amid the rubble. President Bill Clinton, just a month into his first term in the White House, appeared on national TV shortly thereafter to address Americans to bind together in this hour of need. A wave of fear washed over the nation, which had seen bombing attacks on foreign soil such as car bombings in Colombia and Turkey in the last month but never at home. A Pakistani had opened fire outside CIA Headquarters with an AK-47, but most had considered it a localized event rather than mass conspiracy. New York Governor Mario Cuomo was quoted as admitting, "We all have that feeling of being violated. No foreign people or force has ever done this to us. Until now we were invulnerable."

America seemed to come to a standstill. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been climbing to untold heights over the past five years, suddenly plummeted. Only two days after the explosion, a rebuffed search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch near Waco, Texas, turned into a gun battle. As fear turned to panic of widespread terrorism or harsh government crackdown, survivalists began assembling at compounds, prices skyrocketed, and riots broke out in several major cities. It looked as if, only a few years after the defeat of Communism, the dream of a "Pax Americana" had turned into nightmare.

President Clinton worked quickly to turn the tide of terrorism. Order was generally restored after numerous deployments of the National Guard, and banks and businesses remained open by executive order. A great leap forward was made on March 6 when FBI investigators arrested Mohammad Salameh. They had determined the epicenter of the explosion from debris of a Ryder truck, traced it to a Jersey City rental outlet, and caught Salameh as he attempted to retrieve his $400 deposit. Salameh's arrest led to the discovery of an international extremist Islamic conspiracy. Many called for execution of the terrorists, but Clinton led the call for sensible trial and, ultimately, life terms in prison.

The investigations of conspiracy led to many examples of governments such as the Taliban of Afghanistan protecting and even funding terrorists while other governments such as Pakistan simply looked another way. Calls for declarations of war to make the world safe from terrorism rose up, but Clinton's government decided to focus instead on reinforcing international policing systems. Over the course of his two-term presidency, terrorist organizations and training camps would be uncovered and shut down while numerous terrorists would be arrested, including Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the World Trade Center Bombing as well as the Shiite shrine in Mashhad, Iran, and Philippine Airlines Flight 434. The latter led to Yousef's arrest in 1995, the same year a homegrown plot to attack a federal building in Oklahoma City was foiled.

With the sense of America's invulnerability returning, the economy rebounded and then exploded with the introduction of the World Wide Web. Clinton would routinely be listed among the top ten American presidents, often beating out FDR for the #3 spot. His vice-president and successor Al Gore would hold the Democrats in office until 2004 when national mood would swing toward conservatism after the bursting of the Dot Com Bubble.

In reality, the Towers did not collapse. According to the FBI, the bombing “carved out a nearly 100-foot crater several stories deep and several more high. Six people were killed almost instantly.” It was ultimately underpowered for the terrorists' goals, which would be sadly realized eight years later with airplane attacks.


Historical Events on February 26

    1st mass celebrated in 1st American Catholic church, St Joseph's, Philadelphia Construction of Walnut Street Jail is approved by the state of Pennsylvania it will become the first experiment with the practice of solitary confinement in the United States Christiansborg Castle, Copenhagen burns down Bank of England issues first £1 note

Event of Interest

1804 Vice-admiral William Bligh (of Bounty fame) ends siege of Fort Amsterdam, Willemstad

Event of Interest

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte and his supporters leave Elba to start a 100 day re-conquest of France

    Polish constitution abolished and replaced by Tsar Nicholas I 1st US interstate crime compact (NY-NJ) ratified 1st Grand National steeplechase, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool: Jem Mason wins aboard 5/1 favourite Lottery

Event of Interest

1859 Paul Morphy's chess match vs Augustus Mongredien begins Morphy wins

Event of Interest

1863 Abraham Lincoln signs National Currency Act, establishes single national US currency

    New York Legislature forms NYC Metropolitan Board of Health US 15th Amendment guaranteeing right to vote sent to states to ratify

Music Premiere

1869 Franz Schubert's Symphony number 4, "The Tragic", premieres

    Beach Pneumatic Transit - 1st attempt to demonstrate a subway in New York opens (pneumatic powered) -27] Natal: British troops under Major General Colley occupy Majuba Hill P&O's SS Ceylon begins world's 1st round-the-world pleasure cruise from Liverpool British & Portuguese treaty signed in Congo by Leopold II Berlin Conference gives Congo to Belgium and Nigeria to Great Britain George Lohmann took 1st 8-wkt haul in test cricket, 8-35 at Sydney Cricket Ground 1st buffalo purchased for Golden Gate Park

Event of Interest

1891 Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" premieres in Oslo

    2 Clydesdale horses set record by pulling 48 tons on a sledge, Mich Einar Halvorsen skates world record 500m (48 sec) Michael Owens of Toledo, Ohio, patents a glass-blowing machine

Event of Interest

1901 British General Kitchener confers with Boer general Louis Botha about peace conditions, which break down over the question of amnesty for some Boers

Election of Interest

1907 Louis Botha Het Volk Party wins a majority in the election in Transvaal, South Africa

    Austria and Turkey conclude an agreement in which Turkey recognizes Austria's 1908 annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is to receive compensation

Event of Interest

1910 Gandhi supports the African People's Organisations resolution to declare the Prince of Wales day of arrival in South Africa a day of mourning, in protest against the South Africa Acts disenfranchisement of Indians, Coloureds and Africans

    Coal miners strike in Britain (settle on 1st March) New York Museum of Science & Industry incorporated HMHS Britannic, sister to the Titanic, is launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast Malancourt, Argonnen 1st (German) flame-thrower Germans sink French transport ship Provence II, killing 930

Contract of Interest

1916 Mutual signs Charlie Chaplin to a film contract

    Russian troops conquer Kermansjah, Persia 1st jazz records recorded - "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company

Event of Interest

1917 Russian February Revolution: Tsar Nicolas II orders army to quell civil unrest in Petrograd - army mutinies [NS Mar 11]

    1st Annual fair at Utrecht Harbor (Netherlands) Stands at Hong Kong Jockey Club collapse & burn, killing 604 Acadia National Park forms (as Lafayette N P), Maine Congress forms Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona The USSR signs treaties respecting the integrity of Persia and of Afghanistan

Coup d'état

1924 Trial against Hitler for treason in "Beer Hall Putsch" in Munich begins

Event of Interest

1929 US President Calvin Coolidge establishes Grand Teton National Park

    Play "Green Pastures" opens at Mansfield Theater 1st red & green traffic lights installed in Manhattan, NYC West Indies make 1st Test Cricket win, by 289 runs over England Golden Gate Bridge groundbreaking ceremony held at Crissy Field Marinus van der Lubbe kept overnight in a police cell

Event of Interest

1935 NY Yankees release Babe Ruth, he signs with Boston Braves


On This Day in NYC History, February 26, 1993: The World Trade Center Is Bombed

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith from the Library of Congress

It’s been 25 years since the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, when a rental van carrying a 1,200-pound bomb detonated in the basement-level parking garage of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. The bombing was carried out by a group of Muslim extremists terrorists, and was regarded as one of the deadliest terrorists attacks to take place on U.S. soil at the time. Today, on the anniversary of the blast, a planned commemoration will take place at Ground Zero to honor the victims who lost their lives.

According to CNN, the explosion created a hole 200-feet-by-100 feet, and several stories deep. Although the attack was meant to send the North Tower (Tower 1) crashing into the South Tower (Tower 2) — and thereby bringing both towers down — this initial plan failed. However, a mass evacuation of both skyscrapers was carried out, and six people ultimately passed away with over a thousand others injured. The World Trade Center itself suffered more than $500 million in damage.

Following a massive manhunt for the suspects, four men were convicted for the attack in March 1994, and two others, including the mastermind behind the plot, Ramzi Yousef, were convicted three years later. Yousef stated that he did it to avenge Palestinian people who suffered under the hands of U.S.-aided Israel, and to punish the U.S. for its Middle East policies. A seventh suspect, however, currently remains at large.

While it’s been over two decades since the attack, New Yorkers still carry scars from that tragic day. In commemoration of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, The Port Authority holds a tribute to the victims who lost their lives during the explosion. The Catholic Mass has been a tradition every year, and will take place at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan at 10:30am today.

Following the Mass, a ceremony and moment of silence will be held at 12:18 pm near the North Pool on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. This will be followed by a reading of the names of the victims, which are also inscribed on one of the memorial pools.


On This Day – Four Found Guilty of World Trade Center Bombing

Photograph courtesy of Jeffmock.

On this day in 1994, four men were convicted of causing an explosion at the World Trade Center in New York when on February 26 1993, a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center. It was originally intended to ripple through the South Tower and bring both towers down, but failed to do so. Six people were killed and more than a thousand were injured.

The brains behind the operation were terrorists including Ramzi Yousef from Kuwait, who spent time at Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan before launching the attack in New York. It was his Uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Ali Fadden that was later to be considered the main architect behind the devastating September 11 attacks in 2001.

Days before the attack was carried out, Yousef sent letters to various New York newspapers claiming to be a member of the Liberation Army. These letters made three demands: an end to all United States aid to Israel, an end to United States diplomatic relations with Israel, and a pledge by the United States to end interference with any of the Middle East countries’ interior affairs. He later admitted that his attacks were acts of terrorism and could be justified because the “terrorism that Israel practices, which America supports, must be faced with a similar one.”

Yousef escaped to Pakistan and was only convicted in November 1997, when he was sentenced to 240 years imprisonment for his role in the bombing.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Decades after going to prison, some of the men responsible for the World Trade Center bombing that killed six people 28 years ago Friday are still trying to whittle down their onetime life sentences on the remote chance that they could someday be freed.

And they are having some success.

In the last year, four men implicated in the 1993 bombing have won reductions to their sentences after one part of their convictions was dropped to be consistent with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Once each sentenced to 240 years in prison, appeals have won them sentence deductions as they continue efforts to get judges to take fresh looks at their cases.

While unlikely, all four could be freed if they live long enough.

Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj, 55, could be freed when he is 96 after 30 years were shaved off his sentence last month. Nidal Ayyad, 53, Mohammad A. Salameh, 53, and Mahmud Abouhalima, 61, could be freed if they each live to be 100.

All received sentence reductions in the last year. All would face deportation.

Historically, incarceration has not been recommended for longevity. Ajaj noted in a court filing last year that he has chronic health problems after facing cancer, the removal of his left lung and a severe spinal disorder.

Friends and relatives of the six bombing victims participated Friday in a pair of events to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attack, in which 1,200 pounds of explosives hidden in a van detonated in a garage beneath the twin towers. It left a crater half the size of a football field.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey held a virtual Mass at the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan, honoring the four employees it lost in the attack: Robert Kirkpatrick, 61, Stephen Knapp, 48, Bill Macko, 47, and Monica Smith, who was 35 and pregnant when she died.

Also killed were John DiGiovanni, 45, who had parked in the garage, and Wilfredo Mercado, 37, who worked for the Windows on the World Restaurant.

Because of the pandemic, the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum held a hybrid memorial, with some relatives and survivors gathering at the 9/11 Memorial for a private midday ceremony and about 60 others watching a Zoom feed. Flowers and small flags affixed with photos of the victims were placed next to their names on a plaque overlooking on of the site’s two reflecting pools.

The names of the victims were read, a bell tolled at the time of the attack — 12:17 p.m. — and a pipe and drum band performed “Amazing Grace.” Some of the people watching the stream wiped away tears or placed a hand to their face as the ceremony concluded.

The original sentencing judge, Kevin Duffy, was killed by the virus last year. He had fashioned the 240-year sentences by calculating the balance of the life expectancies of the six individuals killed in the blast — 180 years — and adding 30 years each on two other counts.

The bombers who had their sentences reduced were arrested in the intense FBI probe that followed the blast. A vehicle identification number on the Ryder van that carried the bomb was found on a piece of the wreckage and the FBI was waiting when Salameh went to the rental office a week later to try to get his $400 deposit back.

Ayyad, a chemist, ordered chemicals for the bomb. Ajaj, who was in jail on a false-passport conviction at the time of the attacks, had been arrested as he entered the U.S. with materials about bombmaking. Abouhalima was frequently seen at the apartment where the bomb was built. All maintained they were innocent.

Two years after the blast, Ramzi Yousef was arrested in Pakistan and brought to the U.S., where he was convicted at two separate trials. In one, he was convicted in a plot to blow up a dozen U.S. airliners.

In a 2012 memorandum, Duffy called Yousef “a cold-blooded killer, completely devoid of conscience.”

In a second trial, he was convicted as the mastermind of the 1993 bombing. Now 52, he is serving a life prison term. His uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is awaiting a military tribunal on charges that he masterminded the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks, which destroyed the World Trade Center eight years after the initial bombing failed to bring them down.

Eyad Ismoil, 49, also convicted in the 1993 attack, is serving a 210-year sentence. His release date is set at 2174.


This Day in History: Feb. 26

This Day in History: Feb. 26

Take a look at all of the important historical events that took place on February 26th.

On this day, Feb. 26 .

1993: A truck bomb built by Islamic extremists explodes in the parking garage of the North Tower of New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. (The bomb fails to topple the North Tower into the South Tower, as the terrorists hoped both structures would be destroyed in the 9/11 attack eight years later.)

  • 1616: Astronomer Galileo Galilei meets with a Roman Inquisition official, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who orders him to abandon the "heretical" concept of heliocentrism, which holds that the Earth revolves around the sun, instead of the other way around.
  • 1815: Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from exile on the island of Elba and heads back to France in a bid to regain power.
  • 1829: Levi Strauss, founder of Levi Strauss & Co., which would make the first blue jeans, is born in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany.
  • 1904: The United States and Panama proclaim a treaty under which the U.S. agrees to undertake efforts to build a ship canal across the Panama isthmus.
  • 1917: President Woodrow Wilson signs a congressional act establishing Mount McKinley National Park (now known as Denali National Park) in the Alaska Territory.
  • 1919: President Woodrow Wilson signs a congressional act establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
  • 1929: President Calvin Coolidge signs a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
  • 1952: Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that Britain has developed its own atomic bomb.
  • 1984: The last U.S. Marines deployed to Beirut as part of an international peacekeeping force withdraw from the Lebanese capital.
  • 1987: The Tower Commission, which probed the Iran-Contra affair, issues a report rebuking President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.

David Koresh is the subject of a new documentary on the Smithsonian Channel. (Reuters)


Watch the video: Reuters: Terrorist behind 1993 WTC bombing dies in prison


Comments:

  1. Wayland

    What an interesting idea ..

  2. Telegonus

    The information was selected very successfully, when will the update be?

  3. Abdul-Rahman

    What rare good luck! What happiness!

  4. Mikasho

    it doesn't have the analogs?



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