Remembered as 9/11 attacks, the day September 11, 2001, witnessed deadly chaos caused by an organised terror attack, challenging the security of a developed nation, America. The deadliest terrorist attack in American history which claimed several innocent lives was organised by an Islamic Extremist group, Al-Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden. A series of four suicide attacks occurred were airplanes were hijacked and flown in sequence hitting the twin towers in New York City, Pentagon in the outskirts of Washington D.C while the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Let us know in detail what happened on the dreadful day when humanity yet again stooped down to a level of the lowest degree by taking innocent lives, just to demonstrate its powerful existence.
What will we explore?
- Some Facts about the Suicidal Terror Attacks on September 11, 2001
- What shaped the Terror Attack
- The Dreadful Day of Mass Murder, 9/11
- After the Attack- How America Responded
- Economic Impacts of the Attack
- Briefing Up
Some Facts about the Suicidal Terror Attacks on September 11, 2001
- Targets of the Terror Attacks- The Twin Towers, The Pentagon, The U.S Capitol
- Aircrafts Used- Passenger aircrafts of the American Airlines, AA 11, UA 175, AA 77 and UA 93
- Attack by the UA 93 Aircraft targeting the U.S Capitol failed
- Organiser of the Attack- Islamist Extremist Group Al-Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden
- Key Operational Planner- Khalid Sheikh Muhammad
- Motive of the Attack- To bring a regime change across the Middle East
- No of Deaths- Approximately 3000 including the 19 terrorists
- No. of People injured- Approximately 25,000
What shaped the Terror Attack
Like every other terrorist attempt, the September 11 attacks were also driven by hatred and disapproval.
- The motive of the attacks was to destroy the U.S to its core and leave it bankrupt. The act was expressed as retaliation for America’s support to Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War and its military presence in the Middle East.
- Al Qaeda under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden believed that they were fighting for their religion Islam and safeguarding their community from the interference and atrocities of the Americans.
- A tape was released recorded by him saying, “It has become clear that the West in general and America, in particular, have an unspeakable hatred for Islam… It is the hatred of crusaders. Terrorism against America deserved to be praised because it was a response to the injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people… We say that the end of the United States is imminent, whether Bin Laden or his followers are alive or dead, for the awakening of the Muslim umma (nation) has occurred.”
How was the attack planned?
- As per the reports of the 9-11 Commission, the key planner of the terrorist attack was Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who met Laden in 1996 and presented his idea of attacking America. He was also the one who financed the operation.
- Laden, the head of Al-Qaeda agreed to his proposals after two years in 1998.
- The targets mentioned above were finalised in 1999 after a series of meetings. There was a tie between the White House and The U.S Capitol but the latter was chosen, for it being the easier target.
- It was Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who innovated the concept of hijacked airplane bombs which would have the capability of causing mass destruction and casualties.
- He collected data from Western Aviation Magazines, telephone directories for U.S cities, airline timetables and other intelligence which would support his plan.
- A total of nineteen jihadists were recruited to execute the plan. Most of them were from Saudi Arab while the rest from other countries of the Middle East.
- Mohammad Atta and two jihadists from Hamburg Cell, Germany who met Laden also became a part of the plan. They took training for pilot licence in South Florida at Huffman Aviation.
- All of the recruits got passports to get an entry in the U.S. The plan was being coordinated keeping several things in mind.
- They conducted surveillance by flying to the U.S to probe for the weakness in the security system, the routine and conduct of the aircraft crew and every small detail to eliminate the possibility of any loophole in the plan.
- By executing the plan the Islamists extremists were hoping to establish worldwide power and influence at the cost of innocent lives.
The Dreadful Day of Mass Murder, 9/11
- The group of terrorists hijacked four passenger aircrafts which were chosen because of the large amount of fuel it carried to conduct transcontinental journeys.
- At 8:45 am on September 11, 2001, Boeing 767, Flight AA 11 of the American Airlines loaded with 20,000 gallons of fuel, as viewed by the observers, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The aircraft had originated from Boston.
- First supposed to be an accident, which immediately killed those in the building, trapping the rest inside, it turned out that it was the first of the organised series of suicidal terror attacks.
- After eighteen minutes of the first bombardment, a second Boeing 767, Flight 175 of the American Airlines which also originated from Boston, crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
- There was chaos and a death site created, with flying debris over the area, haunting the civilians and the security who now knew that their country was under attack.
- Security was put on high alert after the second attack.
- At 9:37 A.M, a third Aircraft which flew from the Dulles Airport, near Washington D.C, crashed the southwest side of the Pentagon.
- A nationwide ground stop was ordered by the Federal Aviation Authority.
- Within an hour, the fourth aircraft was supposed to crash near Shanksville, outskirts of Pennsylvania. The fourth attack failed, credit goes to the onboard passengers who bravely overpowered the hijackers. All forty passengers died in the crash.
- There was severe damage caused by the explosions, the buildings which were bombarded collapsed killing several people and trapping survivors in debris.
- A rescue operation was immediately put into action. Besides the death of about 3000 people an estimated 400 police officers and firefighters died while saving the civilians.
After the Attack- How America Responded?
- George Bush, the then President assured the nation, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”
- The devastated site of the World Trade Center nicknamed as ‘Ground Zero’ witnessed dedicated rescuers working feverishly to find any survivors buried alive in the debris, several days following the attack.
- The grief-struck nation bore damage at both sentimental and economical level. The heart of the nation was damaged. Stock Markets were closed for four trading days, recording severe economic losses.
- The horrific event brought many nations to come together with the U.S to layout policies to combat terrorism of all forms.
- Operation Enduring Freedom was an international effort aiming at destroying the terrorist network of Osama Bin Laden. Several terrorist camps were ousted from the Taliban by the U.S forces.
- After a decade, the mastermind of the September 11 attack, Osama Bin Laden was tracked down and encountered in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
- With an aim to strengthen the security of the country a department of Homeland Security was created by President Bush on November 25, 2002. The department till date works to combat terror attacks plus carries other responsibilities like border security, immigration and customs, disaster relief and prevention.
Economic Impacts of the Attack
Besides claiming lives and hitting the nation with chaos, the attack stood responsible for crushing the American economy at deep levels.
- The damage of the World Trade Center cost the economy $60 billion.
- The cost of cleaning the debris at ‘Ground Zero’ was approximately $750 million.
- Over 143,000 people lost their jobs followed by the market crash triggered by the terror attack.
- The Finance and Aviation sectors faced maximum economic losses.
September 11, was declared as ‘Patriot Day’ in 2001 by the Congress to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In 2009, the day was named as the national day of service and remembrance. The attacks left an everlasting impact on the minds of not only Americans but on every individual who helplessly witnessed the terror attack which went live on televisions across the globe. Though the damage caused by the attack took several months to get restored but the terrorism couldn’t crush the hope for a peaceful world.