9/11: Woman reflects on decision to leave office before attack
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Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, which saw 2.977 fatalities, over 25,000 injuries and a number of substantial long-term health problems for its victims. Terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airlines mid-flight with the goal of crashing into prominent US buildings. Two of the planes crashed into each of the Twin Towers in New York’s Lower Manhattan, with devastating consequences, while a third plane flew into the Pentagon.
Flight 93 was the only plane not to hit its intended target after passengers regained control of the aircraft and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
The incident remains the deadliest terror attack in human history.
9/11 sparked US president George Bush’s “war on terror” who stated in the wake of the attacks: “Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them”.
However, there was another terror attack on New York’s Twin Towers less than a decade earlier.
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On February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the basement carpark below the north tower of the World Trade Center just after noon.
A van parked in the garage had been loaded with explosive material and it’s blast killed six people.
Smoke and flames spread upwards into the building and more than 1000 people were subsequently injured after inhaling smoke from the towers.
ITV’s 9/11: Life Under Attack offers a unique account of the 9/11 bombings through footage shot on the cameras by ordinary people.
The program shows chilling footage captured by the Rousseau family, moments before 9/11 where their tour guide describes the 1993 terrorist incident at the World Trade Center years earlier.
The guide says: “A couple of years ago there was a terrorist attack inside the World Trade Centre.
“Here’s what happened, your terrorist went inside that garage and they parked a car filled with explosives.
“The terrorist rented out a car from New Jersey.
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“They went back to collect the cash deposit and the FBI was there waiting for them.
“That’s how they were caught.”
Police identified debris from the van, and arrested Mohammed Salameh, the man who rented it, when he returned to the rental agency on March 4 hoping to have his $400 (£290) deposit returned.
A search of Salameh’s apartment led to the arrest of Nidal Ayyad, Mahmud Abouhalima and Ahmed Ajaj who were ultimately sentenced to life in prison in March 1994.
The plot’s leader Ramzi Yousef escaped to Pakistan soon after the attack and performed a number of other terrorist actions including planting a bomb on a Philippines Airlines flight which killed one person and injured 10.
Yousef was soon captured and extradited to the US in 1995 and three years later was sentenced to life in prison plus 240 years after the judge factored in the combined life expectancies of each World Trade Center bomb’s victim.
In court the terrorist claimed he wanted to punish the United States for providing aid to Israel and said: “Yes, I am a terrorist and proud of it.”
Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who had wired his nephew money for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, subsequently rose the ranks of al Qaeda.
KSM became a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden and was a “principal architect” in the 9/11 terrorist attack, according to the 9/11 Commission Report.
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