The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
Vernon T. Branson Jr.
HSM 433 Counter Terrorism & Intelligence Analysis
Instructor: Shawn VanDiver
January 9, 2012
When most people think of the world trade center they immediately think of the attack that occurred September 11th 2001. Most forget that was not the first time that the world trade center’s had come under attack before. “The February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City marked the beginning of an ugly new phase of terrorism involving the indiscriminate killing of civilians. ’ Like the saran gas attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995 and the bombing of the Alfred E. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 4995, the World Trade Center bombing was motivated by the desire to kill as many people as possible.”(Parachini, J.)
At the time the attack on the world trade center in 1993 was the largest full scale terrorist attack to occur on U.S. soil. The attack occurred on a snowy afternoon on 26 February 1993. The temperature was hovering in the mid to low 20’s. At approximately 1218 a blast occurred and immediately the city felt the effects of what just occurred. There was a fire station located directly across the street from the blast and they began response measures on a verbal command as they also felt the blast rock their building. This station consisted of Engine Co. 10 and Ladder Co. 10. Upon arrival they were met with what appeared to be a typical transformer explosion. These type of explosions were very typical throughout New York city at the time, but upon further investigation they were shocked at what they would find.
The group that conducted the attack chooses to use non traditional methods to carry out its attack. Their weapon of choice was a nitro urea bomb, in excess of 1,000 pounds, with hydrogen cylinders to add impact, was detonated in the now-infamous yellow Ryder Econoline van on the B-2 level of the parking garage, causing massive destruction that spanned seven levels, six below grade. The L-shaped blast crater on B-2 at its maximum measured 130 feet wide by 150 feet long. The blast’s epicenter was under the northeast corner of the Vista Hotel. (Fusco, A. 1993)
The mastermind behind this attack was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was born to Pakistani-Palestinian parents in Kuwait in 1968. His career as a terrorist took off in 1991 when he established ties with elements from the Philippine terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf in 1991 and proposed bomb attacks in the United States. He eventually met with the leader of Abu Sayyaf, Abubakar Janjalani, and discussed his ideas in detail. Yousef first traveled to the United States in 1992 with one Ahmad Ajaj who was a Palestinian from the west bank. Ajaj was quickly detained upon arrival at customs for suspicion of terrorist activity. Upon inspection of his luggage it was identified that he was in possession of bomb making materials and manuals. Yousef, who claimed to be Iraqi, immediately asked for political asylum and was also briefly detained. Due to overcrowding in INS's holding cells were overcrowded, Yousef was released pending an asylum hearing. As soon as he was released, Yousef moved to an apartment in Jersey City and made contact with the New York–based militants who helped him execute his plan. He also continued to communicate with Ajaj, who managed to participate in the planning while in detention. Ramzi Yousef's original goal was to detonate several explosive devices in various Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Yousef ultimately changed targets to a single larger explosion at the World Trade Center. (www.investigativereporting.org) Yousef was the nephew of Khalid Sheik Muhammad who was the mastermind behind the attacks the September 11th. Yousef later stated that his goal in this attack was to administer as many casualties as possible to show that the United States was not invincible. The arrests of Yousef later in the year lead to the discovery of the...
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