Terrorist’s attacks have always been a pain on the neck to the world for the longest time. Terrorists have one goal, to finish the world and take over. This comes with a price. Lives have been lost; countries plunged into unrecoverable economic crisis. Terrorists, motivated by their evil motives, orchestrate and undertake surprise attacks to innocent civilians wanting to prove how right they are. Major terrorist’s attacks in the world have been linked to Islamic extremist groups like the Al-Qaeda and the Jihadist.
September 11 (also known as 9/11) attacks refer to the worst terrorist attacks to hit America that took place on September 11, 2001, wiping out 2,996 Americans. This attack was felt across the world. The surprise attacks were well coordinated with the plane hijackers having undertaken aviation classes without raising FBI’s eyebrows. The lead coordinator, Osama Bin Laden who was also the Al-Qaeda leader, had his hands in the act and claimed the responsibility of the attack. Ten years later when Osama was found and killed on May 2, 2011. Have a look at the ten terrifying facts about the September 11 attacks.
The Plane Hijacking Was Not Osama’s Idea
September 11 attacks famously revolved around Osama and his Muslim extremism Al-Qaeda. However, the mastermind behind the fatal attacks was not Osama. Osama adopted the idea of a militant by the name Khalid Sheikh Mohamed. Khalid is a militant who is believed to have joined extremism forces at the age of 16. He is one of the worst militants in history to have planned worst terror attacks. He claimed responsibility for various surprise attacks including; World Trade Center bombing in 1993, failed Bonjika plot and the September 11 attacks in 2001. He also claimed to have killed Daniel Pearl, a journalist.
The Bonjika plot proved futile as the intelligence got hold of their plot before it was executed. This plot meant the use of virtual bombs to blow the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States using a hijacked plane. When the plot failed, Khalid escalated the idea to Osama who, for a long time had wanted to prove his powers against America adopted it. After approval of the idea by Osama, Khalid quickly became affiliated to Al-Qaeda and planned the attack jointly with Osama. He proposed the use of well-trained pilot militia to hijack planes and plunge them into America’s most prominent skylines. The mechanical engineer graduate was born in 1964. He is being held at Guantanamo Bay prisons awaiting trial.
Hijackers Received Aviation Training Before the Attack
The September 11 attacks included four hijacked planes. This meant the terrorists had their hands well trained for aviation work. Hijacker Mohammed Atta was the hijacker pilot on plane American Airlines Flight 11. Before the attack, Mohammed moved to the United States in 2000 from Hamburg, Germany to train as a pilot. After sending around fifty to sixty email inquiries to various aviation schools in America, Atta finally secured a place at Huffman Aviation. He received instrumental ratings in 2000, just a year before the fatal attacks. They went ahead and enrolled for further flight training. Atta would meet fellow hijackers from time to time presumably to discuss their attack plans and how they were going to execute them.
On early mornings of September 11, 2001, Atta boarded flight 11 taking the business class seat. He stormed the cockpit overthrowing the crew fifteen minutes into the flight. Another lead flight attendant Ziad Samir Jarrah who crashed flight 93 at Pennsylvania took flight classes at Florida Flight Training center from 2000 to January 2001. Contrary to other hijackers, Ziad did not portray any aggressive behavior, and his classmates at the aviation school described him as a kind person. The other lead plane hijackers, Hani Hanjour and Marwan Al-Shehi who hijacked flight 77 and flight 175 respectively, took flight training classes the same year as the other hijackers. The only difference is that they went to different aviation schools but kept in contact with the others including on the day of hijacking. The Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden solely financed all these pieces of training. It is estimated it cost Osama and his perpetrators $500,000 to plan and execute the attacks.
The Surprise Attacks Happened Between Two Hours
This one of the unbelievable facts about the September 11 attacks. The series of attacks happened so quickly causing utter confusion and panic among the Americans. When the first plane, flight 11 which was flying from Boston to Los Angeles hit the north tower of World Trade Center, witnesses confused it for a plane accident but a few minutes later at 9:03 am Flight 175 hit the south tower of World Trade Center. At this point, it became clear that America was under attack.
Thirty-four minutes later after flight 175 crashes, flight 77 flying from Virginia to Los Angeles nosedived into the Pentagon building in Washington causing massive destruction and killing hundred and eighty-four people. At this time, breaking news was streaming in all over the world, and before America could come to terms with the attack, another hijacked plane flight 93 flying New Jersey- San Francisco route crashed at Pennsylvania at 10:03 am killing all the passengers onboard. The later plane had been informed of the other hijackings and had been warned by the security.
September 11 Attacks Popularized Al-Qaeda
Osama had intentions of making Al-Qaeda known all over the world. The four series of attacks happened so quickly making news channels focus on the attacks. Osama took the rare opportunity to claim responsibility. By hitting two major New York’s landmarks and twin towers made it easier for Al-Qaeda to go down in history for the worst of attacks. Al-Qaeda soon became a household name across the world. The economic impact caused by the attack was devastating not only to America but to other countries as well.
Air travels were severely affected and were put on hold for days to give room for the installation of new security measures in an attempt to curb terrorism. The collapsing of the twin towers sent massive fear across the stock market. The attacks hit the world markets the hardest. The video footage taken by witnesses during the attack was viewed and shared a million times across the world making it the center of interest among millions of viewers across the globe. The fact that the planning of the attack was conducted across several countries confirmed that Al-Qaeda had global connections that helped ease the execution.
A Handful of Survivors
The devastating impact of flight 11 and flight 175 on the twin towers was so severe; it brought down the most durable steel and glass building ever. It is estimated that on average a population of fifty thousand people worked on WTC and another estimate of 200,000 passed by the landmark. According to the National Institute and Standards Technology, an estimate of seventeen thousand and four hundred people was inside the building during the attack. At the time of the attack, confusion ensued, and many were trapped inside the building.
The high number of floors made it practically impossible for people inside the building to escape. When the north tower came under attack, the south tower was alerted. However, the north tower attack was initially confused for an accident. Therefore, rescuers thought there was no reason for the cause of alarm on the south tower. The civilians on the south tower were therefore advised to remain calm in their respective floors. Nonetheless, some civilians defied the instructions and ran for safety. It is estimated that on twenty-three survivors cheated death and came out of the debris moments after the collapse of WTC. This included fifteen rescuers.
1.8 Million Tons of Debris
The collapsing of the two skyscrapers was a considerable loss. Even though the World Trade Center building was constructed using the most durable materials, it was still vulnerable to damages. The impact on WTC was likened to an earthquake by Engineer Ronald Hamburger. The jetliners were piloted to the buildings at an angle to ensure maximum impact. This led to several floors collapsing hence weakening the core columns at the center supporting the structure.
The hitting impact caused by the planes and the plane ignited the wildfire that razed the building down. This further weakened the steel leaving the structure with no choice but to fall. As the building came down, several other structures were taken down as well including St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and several others. This led to a vast mass of debris. It is estimated that 1.8 million tons of debris was cleaned up. It cost America a whopping seven hundred and fifty million dollars to clear the debris and pave the way for new construction. The cleanup process lasted for nine tiresome months!
The Fire at the World Trade Center Lasted for 100 Days
The speed at which the planes were traveling was so high that when they hit WTC, it tore apart fireproofing materials weakening its functionality. The plane fuel also spilled over several floors setting up a vast, uncontrollable inferno. A massive cloud of smoke formed as the building razed up. The dark smoke was as a result of the trapped air in the building being compressed as the building collapsed.
According to National Institute Standard Technology, the fire temperatures were estimated to have hit 1,000 degrees Celsius on the maximum. This coupled with pressure caused by the collapsing building were strong enough to weaken the support column steel; hence the fire penetrated several other floors. The massive inferno accelerated by burning properties inside the World Trade Center took a hundred hot days to go off. The fire was so big that it needed extra water pumping efforts to put it off.
The Collapsed World Trade Center Brought Down Several Other Buildings
The falling rubbles from the World Trade Center after the September 11 attack affected several nearby buildings. The Fiterman Hall belonging to Borough of Manhattan Community college was severely affected by the collapse of 7 World Trade Center. The hall was utterly crushed. The 7 World Trade also brought down Verizon Building constructed in 1926. Other buildings that were affected included Marriot World Trade Center, south plaza, St Nicholas Orthodox Church, World Financial Center, Deutsche Bank Building and U.S. customs.
The North Tower Collapsed After 102 Minutes
The hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 flying the Boston Los Angeles route lodged itself into the north tower at a mind-boggling speed of seven hundred and ten kilometers per hour at precisely 8:46 am ET causing a large gaping hole in the building. Immediately, World Trade Towers went up in flames after 38,000 liters of jet fuel spilled over. The ill-fated plane had crashed into the middle of 93rd floors and 99th floors.
The strength of the speed at which the aircraft was traveling at plus the razing fire weakened the building structures and the fireproof insulations. Slowly it began collapsing trapping thousands of people inside. Unlike the south tower, the north tower came down after one hour and forty-two minutes. At this time all the other three attacks had been executed, and Americans were trying to wrap their heads around all the four devastating scenarios.
412 Emergency Workers Died at WTC
When the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, people thought it was an aircraft accident. In the hopes evacuating civilians alive, rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the area. The events following turned horror and dramatic as they witnessed American Airline Flight 175 flying Los Angeles route from Boston lodged itself into the southern tower 17 minutes later.
Confusion escalated as the buildings gave in to the raging fire and heavy loads of falling rubbles hence collapsing. The four hundred and twelve emergency workers were caught up in the process and lost their lives in their lines of duties. The four hundred and twelve fatalities included seventy-one police officers, three hundred and forty-three fire engine operators from New York City Fire Department and five tax enforcement officers.