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Friday, February 26, 2010

The First World Trade Center Bombing

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured over 1,000 more.

The plot and bombing were carried out by seven men: Mohammed Salameh, Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Nidal Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin, Ahmad Ajaj, and Eyad Ismoil.

On the morning of February 26, 1993, Ismoil and Yousef drove a rented Ryder van into Manhattan from Jersey City. According to author Simon Reeve in
The New Jackals, their intended destination may have been the United Nations, but finding the buildings too well secured, they switched to plan "B" and targeted the Twin Towers instead.

The van exploded at 12:17 p.m., tearing a huge hole in the  concrete foundations of WTC 1 (the north tower) and destroying a portion of the garage. The tower immediately lost power and all workers were evacuated; most of the injuries came during the scramble to get people to safety.

Investigators found the frame of the van and were able to pull its VIN, thus linking it back to Mohammed Salameh, who had rented the van and then reported it stolen. When Salameh returned to the Ryder agency in Jersey City to get back his $400 deposit, the FBI arrested him. The mastermind of the attack, Ramzi Yousef, returned to Jersey City that afternoon and immediately flew out of the country to Pakistan. He was not apprehended until after his involvement in the bombing of Philippine Airlines flight 434 in December 1994, a trial run in the so-called "Bojinka" plot to explode dozens of airlines. Yousef's uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would ultimately be the force behind the second attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Eventually, all the conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were arrested and incarcerated except for Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was last seen in Iraq in 2003 and has not been seen or heard from since.

The six fatalities at the World Trade Center in 1993 were John DiGiovanni (age 45), Robert Kirkpatrick (61), Stephen Knapp (48), Bill Macko (47), Wilfredo Mercado (37), and Monica Smith (35), who was seven months pregnant at the time of her death. A memorial to them that once stood in the plaza at the World Trade Center was destroyed on 9/11; a new tribute to these victims will be included when the "Reflecting Absence" memorial opens -- supposedly by September 11th next year.

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Read more about the construction of the World Trade Center
 Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the FBI writeup:

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