September 11 attacks

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A sequential look at United Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center

The September 11, 2001 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States of America carried out on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, in which hijackers took control of four U.S. domestic commercial airliners. The hijackers crashed two planes into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City — one into each of the two tallest towers, about 18 minutes apart. Within two hours, both towers had collapsed. The hijackers crashed the third aircraft into the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters, the Pentagon, in Arlington County, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed into a rural field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 80 miles (129 km) east of Pittsburgh, following passenger resistance. The official count records 2,986 deaths in the attacks, including the hijackers.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) states in its final report that the nineteen hijackers who carried out the attack were terrorists, and were all affiliated with the Islamic Al-Qaeda organization. The report named Osama bin Laden, a Saudi national, as the leader of Al-Qaeda, and as the person ultimately suspected responsible for the attacks, with the actual planning being undertaken by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Bin Laden categorically denied involvement in two 2001 statements [1], before admitting in a taped statement a direct link to the attacks.

The 9/11 Commission reported that these hijackers turned the planes into the largest suicide bombs in history. The September 11th attacks are among the most significant events to have occurred so far in the 21st century in terms of the profound economic, social, political, cultural, psychological and military effects that followed in the United States and many other parts of the world.


The attacks

Template:Sep11 The attacks started with the hijacking of four commercial airliners. With jet fuel capacities of nearly 24,000 U.S. gallons (91,000 litres) per aircraft [2], the aircraft were turned into flying incendiary bombs. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north side of the north tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) at 8:46:40 AM local time (12:46:40 UTC). At 9:03:11 AM local time (13:03:11 UTC), United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the south tower, covered live on television. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37:46 AM local time (13:37:46 UTC). The fourth hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in a field near Shanksville and Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, Pennsylvania at 10:03:11 AM local time (14:03:11 UTC), with parts and debris found up to eight miles away. The crash in Pennsylvania is believed to have resulted from the hijackers either deliberately crashing the aircraft or losing control of it as they fought with the passengers. No one survived in any of the hijacked aircraft.

The fatalities were in the thousands: 265 on the four planes; 2,595, including 343 New York City firefighters, 23 NYPD police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers in the WTC; and 125 civilians and military personnel at the Pentagon. At least 2,986 people were killed in total. In addition to the 110-floor Twin Towers of the World Trade Center itself, five other buildings at the WTC site, including WTC building 7, a 48-story steel-frame skyscraper which stood about a block away from the twin towers and was not hit by any airplane, and four subway stations were destroyed or badly damaged. In total, on Manhattan Island, 25 buildings were damaged. Communications equipment such as broadcast radio, television and two way radio antenna towers were damaged beyond repair. In Arlington, a portion of the Pentagon was severely damaged by fire and one section of the building collapsed.


Some passengers and crew members were able to make phone calls from the doomed flights. They reported that multiple hijackers were aboard each plane. A total of 19 were later identified by the FBI, four on United 93 and five each on the other three flights.

For a short period, the precise identity of the 19 hijackers was uncertain. For example, the BBC reported 14 days after the attack that 4 of the 19 were alive based upon the initial identification supplied by the FBI. [3].

The hijackers reportedly took control of the aircraft by using box cutter knives to kill flight attendants and at least one pilot or passenger. The 9/11 Commission could only establish that two of the hijackers had recently purchased Leatherman multi-function hand tools [4], but some form of noxious chemical spray, such as tear gas or pepper spray, was reported to have been used on American 11 and United 175 to keep passengers out of the first-class cabin. Bomb threats were made on three of the aircraft, but not on American 77.

The fourth aircraft

It has been speculated that the hijackers of the fourth hijacked aircraft, United Airlines Flight 93, intended to crash into the U.S. Capitol or the White House in Washington, D.C. Black box recordings reportedly revealed that passengers, led by Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick and Mark Bingham, attempted to seize control of the plane from the hijackers, who then rocked the plane in a failed attempt to subdue the passengers. Soon afterwards, the aircraft crashed in a field near Shanksville in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania at 10:03:11 AM local time (14:03:11 UTC). There is a dispute about the exact timing of the crash, founded on the seismic evidence which indicates that the impact actually occurred at 10:06. [5] The 9/11 Panel reports that captured al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed said that Flight 93's target was the U.S. Capitol, which was given the code name "The Faculty of Law".


The attacks are often referred to simply as September 11th, 9/11, or 9-11. The latter two are from the U.S. style for writing short dates, in which the month precedes the day. Both are pronounced "nine-eleven", though a few people prefer "nine-one-one" (the same as the telephone number for emergency services in the U.S., 9-1-1). Some people dislike the use of "nine-one-one" due to the similarity to "9-1-1" (which implies a call for help) and the obvious practical point - that this would be far more confusing and potentially ambiguous, and prefer to state the date as "September 11th"; this is also the preferred form in academic writing. Nonetheless, "nine-eleven" is the most common form. With the Madrid attacks on March 11, 2004 called "M11" and the London attacks 7/7, the convention has been extended.


Number of fatalities
World Trade Center Towers 2,595
Flight 11 92
Flight 175 65
Pentagon Building 125
Flight 77 64
Shanksville Flight 93 45
Total 2,986

At the World Trade Center, faced with a desperate situation of smoke and burning heat from the jet fuel, an estimated 200 people jumped to their deaths from the burning towers, landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below (a reaction to the attacks similar to the effects of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the burning of the General Slocum). In addition, some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward towards the roof in hope of helicopter rescue. No rescue plan existed for such an eventuality. By some accounts, fleeing occupants instead encountered locked access doors upon reaching the roof. As many as 1,366 people were trapped at and above the floors of impact in the North Tower (1 WTC). None of them survived. As many as 600 people were trapped at and above the floors of impact in the South Tower (2 WTC). Only about 18 managed to escape in time from above the impact zone and out of the South Tower before it collapsed.

As the suburbs around New York City learned of the destruction so close to home, many schools closed for the day, evacuated, or were locked-down. Other school districts shielded students from watching television because many of their parents held jobs in the World Trade Center towers. In New Jersey and Connecticut, private schools were evacuated. Scarsdale, New York schools closed for the day. In Greenwich, Connecticut, about 15 miles north of the city, hundreds of students had direct ties to victims of the attacks. Greenwich, one of the wealthiest towns in the world, had more residents killed than any other town in the area.

According to Associated Press, the city identified over 1,600 bodies but was unable to identify the rest of the bodies (about 1,100 people). They report that the city has "about 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that cannot be matched to the list of the dead" (AP, 23 February 2005).


File:WTC1 on fire.jpg
The World Trade Center on fire. The plume of smoke escaping the towers would, upon the towers' ultimate collapse, go on to cover the entire lower portion of Manhattan as well as large sections of Brooklyn.
File:Pentagon after September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.jpg
Clouds of smoke billow out of the Pentagon.
Lower Manhattan as seen from New Jersey, shortly after the attacks
File:USGS Shanksville.jpg
Photo of the impact crater left by the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA (USGS)
Security camera image of the moment that The Pentagon was hit
Main article: Responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks

The United States government has blamed al-Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks. al-Qaeda claims responsibility for several attacks on U.S. military and civilian targets in Africa and the Middle East. Osama bin Laden, a leader of al-Qaeda has denied involvement and knowledge of the incidents. Bin Laden earlier declared a holy war against the United States. Shortly after the attacks, the United States government declared al-Qaeda and bin Laden the prime suspects.

In November 2001, U.S. forces recovered a videotape from a destroyed house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan which showed Osama bin Laden talking to Khaled al-Harbi. [6] In the tape, bin Laden admits to planning the attacks. The factuality of the tape is questioned in the Muslim world: "But the BBC's Middle East correspondent, Frank Gardner, says that at street level in the Arab world, many believe the tape is a fake, a PR gimmick dreamed up by the US administration." [7]. The tape was broadcast on various news networks in December 2001.

Osama bin Laden responded by reading a statement on September 16, 2001, "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation," which was broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera satellite channel. [8][9][10] This denial was broadcast on U.S. news networks and worldwide. The second public response was read on September 28 by Daily Ummat, a Pakistani newspaper. In it, bin Laden stated "I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle." [11][12]

Shortly before the US presidential election in 2004 in a taped statement, bin Laden publicly acknowledged al-Qaida's involvement in the attacks on the U.S, and admitted his direct link to the attacks. He said that the attacks were carried out because "we are a free people who do not accept injustice, and we want to regain the freedom of our nation." (full text)

A United States government task force known as the 9-11 Commission, and calling themselves "The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States", released its report on July 22 2004, concluding that the attacks were conceived and implemented by al-Qaeda operatives. The Commission stated that "9/11 plotters eventually spent somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000 to plan and conduct their attack", but that the specific origin of the funds used to execute the attacks remained unknown. To date, only peripheral figures have been tried or convicted in connection with the attacks.


According to official US Government sources, the September 11th attacks were consistent with the mission statement of Al-Qaeda. The group's involvement in the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania is widely suspected, and Al-Qaeda had declared responsibility for the 2000 USS Cole attack in Yemen.

The motivation for this campaign was set out in a 1998 fatwa [13] issued by bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu-Yasir Rifa'i Ahmad Taha, Shaykh Mir Hamzah, and Fazlur Rahman. The fatwa states that the United States:

  • Plunders the resources of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Dictates policy to the rulers of those countries.
  • Supports abusive regimes and monarchies in the Middle East, thereby oppressing their people.
  • Has military bases and installations upon the Arabian Peninsula, which violates the Muslim holy land, in order to threaten neighbouring Muslim countries.
  • Intends thereby to create disunion between Muslim states, thus weakening them as a political force.
  • Supports Israel, and wishes to divert international attention from (and tacitly maintain) the occupation of Palestine.

The Gulf War and the ensuing sanctions against and bombing of Iraq by the United States, were cited, in 1998, as further proof of these allegations. To the disapproval of moderate Muslims, the fatwa uses Islamic texts to explain violent action against American military and citizenry until the alleged grievances are reversed: stating "ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries".

Statements of Al-Qaeda recorded after 9/11 are suggested to add weight to this speculation. In a 2004 video, apparently acknowledging responsibility for the attacks, bin Laden stated that he was motivated to "restore freedom to our nation", to "punish the aggressor in kind", and to inflict economic damage on America. He declared that a continuing objective of his holy war was to "[bleed] America to the point of bankruptcy". [14]

Both the United States and Al-Qaeda present the conflict as a battle between Good and Evil.

The 9/11 Commission Report determined that the animosity towards the United States felt by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the so-called "principal architect" of the 9/11 attacks, stemmed "by his own account ... from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel." The same motivation has been imputed to the two pilots who flew into the WTC: Mohamed Atta was described by Ralph Bodenstein - who traveled, worked and talked with him - as "most imbued actually about... US protection of these Israeli politics in the region." Marwan al-Shehhi is said to have explained his humorless demeanour with the words: "How can you laugh when people are dying in Palestine?"

By contrast, the Bush administration says that Al-Qaeda was motivated by hatred of the freedom and democracy exemplified by the United States, and independent analysts say that one major Al-Qaeda motive is to encourage Islamic solidarity focussed on a common enemy, and thus in the long term help pave the way for an Islamic world order.

For details on other motives for the attack, see 9/11 conspiracy theories.


File:September 14 2001 Ground Zero 02.jpg
A solitary fire fighter stands amidst the rubble and smoke in New York City. Days after the Sept. 11 attack, fires still burned at the site of the World Trade Center.
Main article: Aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks

International reaction

The attacks had major global political ramifications. They were denounced by mainstream media and governments world-wide, with the headline of Paris, France's Le Monde newspaper summing up the international mood of sympathy [15]: "Today We Are All Americans". Approximately one month after the attacks, the United States led a broad coalition of international forces into Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaeda forces in order to topple the Taliban Government for harboring what it referred to as a terrorist organization. [16] The Pakistani authorities moved decisively to align themselves with the United States in a war against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. It gave the U.S. a number of military airports and bases for its attack on Afghanistan, and arrested over six hundred supposed al-Qaeda members, whom it handed over to the U.S. [17]

Numerous countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Indonesia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Jordan, Mauritius, Uganda and Zimbabwe [18] (PDF), introduced "anti-terrorism" legislation and froze the bank accounts [19] of businesses and individuals they suspected of having al-Qaeda ties. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a number of countries, including Italy [20], Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines [21] arrested people they labeled terrorist suspects for the stated purpose of breaking up militant cells around the world. This process aroused controversy, as critics such as the Bill of Rights Defense Committee argued that traditional restrictions on federal surveillance (e.g. COINTELPRO's monitoring of public meetings) were "dismantled" by the USA PATRIOT Act [22] (PDF); civil liberty organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union [23] and Liberty [24] argued that certain civil rights protections were also being circumvented. The United States set up a detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to hold "illegal enemy combatants". The legitimacy of these detentions has been questioned by, among others, member states of the European Union, the Organization of American States, and Amnesty International. (See Camp X-Ray for further details.)

In September, 2004 Yusuf Islam, a British Muslim previously known as the singer Cat Stevens, was barred from entering the U.S. and was subsequently extradited to the UK after his flight was briefly diverted to Maine. [25] Yusuf Islam's expulsion led British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, to complain to the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who ordered a review of restrictions placed on people entering the United States.

Public response in the United States

The attacks also had immediate and overwhelming effects upon the United States population. Gratitude toward uniformed public-safety workers, and especially toward firefighters, was widely expressed in light of both the drama of the risks taken on the scene and the high death toll among the workers. The number of casualties among the emergency service personnel was unprecedented. The highly visible role played by Rudolph Giuliani, then Mayor of New York City, won him high praise nationally. He was named Person of the Year by Time magazine for 2001, and at times has had a higher profile in the U.S. than President George W. Bush.

New York City bore the brunt of the attacks and will always bear physical and physiological scars from the events of the day. Blood donations saw a surge in the weeks after 9/11. According to a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association released on May 7 2003: "...the number of blood donations in the weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks was markedly greater than in the corresponding weeks of 2000 (2.5 times greater in the first week after the attacks; 1.3–1.4 times greater in the second to fourth weeks after the attack)." [26]

There were some incidents of harassment and hate crimes against Middle Easterners and other "Middle Eastern looking" people, particularly Sikhs. A total of nine people were murdered within the United States as part of retaliation. Balbir Singh Sodhi, one of the first victims of this backlash, was shot dead on September 15. He, like many others, was a Sikh yet was mistaken for a Muslim.

Economic aftermath

The attacks had significant short-term economic impact for the United States and world markets. The New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and NASDAQ did not open on September 11 and remained closed until September 17. New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) facilities and remote data processing sites were not damaged by the attack, but member firms, customers and markets were unable to communicate due to major damage to the telephone exchange facility near the World Trade Center. When the stock markets reopened on September 17, 2001, after the longest closure since the Great Depression in 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (“DJIA”) stock market index fell 684 points, or 7.1%, to 8920, its biggest-ever one-day point decline. By the end of the week, the DJIA had fallen 1369.7 points (14.3%), its largest one-week point drop in history. U.S. stocks lost $1.2 trillion in value for the week. As of 2005 Wall and Broad Streets near the New York Stock Exchange remain barricaded and guarded to prevent a physical attack upon the building.

The economy of Lower Manhattan, which by itself is the third-largest business district in the United States (after Midtown Manhattan and the Chicago Loop) was devastated in the immediate aftermath. 30% (28.7 million sq. ft) of Lower Manhattan office space was either damaged or destroyed. Much of what was destroyed was valuable Class-A space. The pre-2001 trend of moving jobs out of Lower Manhattan to Midtown and New Jersey was accelerated. Many questioned whether this loss of jobs and its associated tax based would ever be restored.

The rebuilding has been inhibited by a lack of agreement on priorities. For example, Mayor Bloomberg had made New York's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics the core of his capital development plan from 2002 until mid-2005, and Governor Pataki largely delegated his role to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation [27] which has been widely criticized for doing little with the enormous funding directed to the rebuilding efforts. [28]

On the sites of the totally destroyed buildings, one, 7 World Trade Center, has a new office tower. Only Ameriprise Financial, Inc., a spinoff of American Express Financial Advisors has been named as a potential tenant for it[29]. There is no consensus regarding the demand for office space looking forward to 2010, so the market for 7 WTC and other new construction in the financial district is soft.

North American air space was closed for several days after the attacks and air travel decreased significantly upon its reopening. The attacks led to nearly a 20% cutback [30] in air travel capacity, and exacerbated financial problems in the struggling U.S. airline industry.

Many towers in the United States metropolitan areas were evacuated hours after the attacks, including Los Angeles, where traffic was at its lowest volume ever for that city, and the major downtown business district was virtually deserted.

Rescue, recovery, and compensation

Main articles: Rescue and recovery effort after the September 11, 2001 attacks & Financial assistance following the September 11, 2001 attacks

Rescue and recovery efforts took months to complete. It took several weeks to simply put out the fires burning in the rubble of the WTC, and the clean-up was not completed until May 2002. Temporary wooden "viewing platforms" were set up for tourists to view construction crews clearing out the gaping holes where the towers once stood.

Many relief funds were immediately set up to assist victims of the attacks. The task of providing financial assistance to the survivors and the families of victims is still ongoing.

Potential health effects

Thousands of tons of toxic debris resulting from the collapse of the Twin Towers included asbestos, lead, and mercury, as well as unprecedented levels of dioxin and PAHs from the fires which burned for three months. This has led to debilitating illnesses among rescue and recovery workers, as well as some residents, students, and office workers of Lower Manhattan and nearby Chinatown. [31]

There is scientific speculation that exposure to various toxic products and the pollutants in the air surrounding the Towers after the WTC collapse may have negative effects on fetal development. Due to this potential harm, a notable children's environmental health center is currently analyzing the children whose mothers were pregnant during the WTC collapse, and were living or working near the World Trade Center towers. The staff of this study assess the children using psychological testing every year and interview the mothers every six months. The purpose of the study is to determine whether there is significant difference in development and health progression of children whose mothers were exposed versus those who were not exposed after the WTC collapse.

Collapse of the World Trade Center

Main article: Collapse of the World Trade Center
September 13, 2001: A New York City firefighter looks up at what remains of the South Tower.

There has been much speculation on the "performance" of the Twin Towers after the impacts, and the reasons for the collapse are under active debate by structural engineers, architects, and the relevant U.S. government agencies. The design of the WTC included many basic innovations distinguishing it from all previous skyscrapers and from many built since. Although the kinetic energy of the jetliner impacts and the resulting fires were unprecedented in the history of building disasters, some engineers strongly believe skyscrapers of more traditional design (such as New York City's Empire State Building and Malaysia's Petronas Towers) would have fared much better under the circumstances, perhaps standing indefinitely. If they are correct, supertall buildings that share the WTC's major design elements (for example, Chicago's Sears Tower and John Hancock Center) could be considered particularly vulnerable.

Buildings surrounding the World Trade Center were heavily damaged by the debris and massive force of the falling twin towers.

7 World Trade Center collapsed in the late afternoon of September 11. For details on its collapse see: 7 World Trade Center.

A federal technical building and fire safety investigation of the collapses of the Twin Towers and 7 WTC has been conducted by the United States Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The goals of this investigation — completed on April 6, 2005 — were to investigate the building construction, the materials used, and the technical conditions that contributed to the outcome of the WTC disaster. The investigation [32] was to serve as the basis for:

  • Improvements in the way buildings are designed, constructed, maintained, and used
  • Improved tools and guidance for industry and safety officials
  • Revisions to building and fire codes, standards, and practices
  • Improved public safety

The report concludes that the fireproofing on the Twin Towers' steel infrastructures was blown off by the initial impact of the planes and that if this had not occurred the WTC would likely have remained standing. In addition, the report asserts that the Towers' stairwells were not adequately reinforced to provide emergency escape for people above the impact zones.



Congressional inquiries


Speculation, alternative theories, and claims of further conspiracies

Main article: 9/11 conspiracy theories

Since the attacks, there has been much speculation concerning their planning and execution. A Zogby International Poll published August 30, 2004 reported that half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall believe that some U.S. leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act." There are stories of phone call warnings, even weeks in advance that went unheeded. Some theories include the President's behavior during the event as evidence. Others say the damage at the Pentagon and WTC does not correspond to the official narrative. Gaps within the public record, the lack of explanation for particular details, such as the collapse of WTC building 7, and firefighter testimonials reporting a series of explosions inside the twin towers, continue to fuel speculation. Some skeptics worldwide have formed what they call a "9/11 Truth Movement."

There have been several books published detailing alternative narratives of the 9/11 attacks, and there are a large number of websites devoted to explaining and continuing to examine alternative theories of the September 11th attacks. Reasons behind questioning the official story derive from perceived benefits to the US, such as US access and control of Middle East oil, increased popularity ratings for some government officials, and large profit increases for oil and defense industries following 9/11. Others investigating alternative theories of the 9/11 attacks are concerned by what they see as a series of 'incompetent' or uninvestigated events and coincidences during the Bush Administration which they believe are not all without intention - they see the attacks of 9/11 as the original or largest 'lie,' (or misleading event) that promoted a wartime mentality which subseqently allowed otherwise contentious legislation (i.e., USA PATRIOT Act), authorizations of military force (Iraq War and U.S. invasion of Afghanistan), and even confirmations of what they consider to be questionable US elections (U.S. presidential election, 2004), to be more easily accepted. Gore Vidal has been highly critical of the Bush Administration. In his book Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, he compares their behaviour before the attacks to that of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration before the attack on Pearl Harbor, claiming both attacks were more or less provoked by the United States' government and were allowed to happen to justify going to war.

See: 9/11 conspiracy theories for more information.

20th hijacker

Allegedly twenty-seven members of al-Qaeda attempted to enter the United States to take part in the September 11 attacks. In the end, only nineteen allegedly participated. Other would-be hijackers are often referred to as the 20th hijackers.

Ramzi Binalshibh allegedly meant to take part in the attacks, but he was repeatedly denied a visa for entry into the U.S. Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi Arabian citizen, may also have been planning to join the hijackers but U.S. Immigration authorities at Orlando International Airport refused his entry into the U.S. in August 2001. He was later captured in Afghanistan and imprisoned at the U.S. military prison known as Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Zacarias Moussaoui was reportedly considered as a replacement for Ziad Jarrah, who at one point threatened to withdraw from the scheme because of tensions amongst the plotters. Plans to include Moussaoui were allegedly never completed because the al-Qaeda hierarchy allegedly had doubts about his reliability. However, in April 2005, Moussaoui pled guilty to involvement in the hijacking and al-Qaeda, a plea which made him eligible for the death penalty. He has yet to be sentenced.

Other al-Qaeda members who allegedly may have attempted, but were unable, to take part in the attacks include Saeed al-Ghamdi (not to be confused with the successful hijacker of the same name), Mushabib al-Hamlan, Zakariyah Essabar, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Tawfiq bin Attash. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the attack's mastermind, wanted to remove at least one member — Khalid al-Mihdhar — from the operation, but he was overruled by Osama bin Laden.

Other planned attacks

According to Mohammed Afroze, a planned simultaneous attack in London, on the House of Commons and Tower Bridge, was aborted at the last minute, when the would-be hijackers, waiting to board the planes they were to hijack, saw the damage in the USA, panicked, and fled. Similar attacks may also have been planned in New Delhi, Melbourne, and Montreal.

The "War on Terrorism"

Main article: Global War on Terrorism

In the aftermath of the attacks, many U.S. citizens held the view that they had "changed the world forever": that the United States was now vulnerable to terrorist attacks in a way that it had not yet experienced. The United States declared a war on terrorism, with the stated goals of bringing Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to justice, and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks. These goals would be accomplished by means including economic and military sanctions against states perceived as harboring terrorists, and increasing global surveillance and intelligence sharing. The biggest operation outside of the United States was the invasion of Afghanistan, by U.S.-led coalitions. The U.S. was not the only nation to increase its military readiness, with other notable examples being the Philippines and Indonesia, countries that have their own internal conflicts with terrorists.

Two years after the attacks, the Program on International Policy Attitudes reported on an opinion poll they conducted of the American public from January through September 2003. They asked "How likely it is that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th Terrorist attacks?" The response was 32% very likely, 37% somewhat likely, 12% not very likely and 3% not at all likely[33]. At that time the White House maintained that such a connection did exist, however as of 2005 no evidence has emerged to support the claim.

Within the United States, President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, representing the largest re-structuring of the U.S. government in contemporary history. Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act, stating that it would help detect and prosecute terrorism and other alleged future crimes. Civil liberties groups have criticized the PATRIOT Act, saying that it allows law enforcement to invade the privacy of citizens and eliminates Judicial oversight over law-enforcement and domestic intelligence gathering.


Main article: September 11, 2001 attack memorials and services

Memorials to the victims and heroes of the attacks of September 11 have been planned for the three sites. An outdoor memorial at the Pentagon, for the public, has been designed by Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman of KBAS of New York City. [34] Construction of the memorial is scheduled for completion in Fall 2006. Within the Pentagon itself, the America's Heroes Memorial was added in September 2002, when the building repairs were completed. Public access to this memorial is restricted to group tours, such as veteran's groups.

The proposed design for Flight 93 National Memorial is called Crescent of Embrace, and it has created some controversy due to its large red crescent plan which also points toward Mecca. Recently, due to the amount of public pressure, it has been announced that the memorial will be redesigned as to avoid any confusion with the sign of Islam.

Currently, there is no memorial at the World Trade Center site. There is one planned called Reflecting Absence, which was designed by Michael Arad and selected through a design competition. This memorial design been generally praised, while other proposed elements for the site have drawn controversy. Among these were the The Drawing Center and the International Freedom Center (IFC). The Drawing Center withdrew its proposal for the site, and in consideration of objections raised by some victims' families, New York Governor George Pataki has barred the IFC from building at the site.

In addition to physical monuments, a number of September 11th family members and friends have set up memorial funds, scholarships, and charities in honor of lost loved ones. Template:See

Arts and literature

The play "The Guys" by Anne Nelson explores the memories and emotions of a surviving fire captain and a writer who helps him writing eulogies for his lost comrades. The play was first performed on December 4, 2001.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a 2005 novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, was one of the first books to deal with the attacks. The book follows the narrator, 9-year old Oskar Schell, whose father was in the upper floors of the World Trade Center when the jets crashed into the Twin Towers. To fight his unresolvable grief and quell his terrifying imagination, Oskar embarks on a quixotic quest to find what he hopes is his father's most illuminating secret. In service of this quest Oskar conquers many of his irrational fears and comforts other damaged souls.

World Trade Center, a film by Oliver Stone, tells the story of two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin (played by Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (played by Michael Peña), who were the last two rescue workers pulled from ground zero alive. It is billed as an uplifting story about everyday New Yorkers helping one another amid a cataclysmic tragedy. It is scheduled for release in August 2006.


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See also

File:WTC aerial after attacks.jpg
Aerial view of the World Trade Center site after the attacks.


External links


Manhattan from Jersey City on the 2004 memorial of the September 11 attacks.



  • - 'September 11 One Year Later: A Monitor Guide to Books of September 11: A year after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the publishing industry has produced more than 300 related books', Christian Science Monitor
  • - 'Historical 9-11-01 Books'
  • The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Acts Upon The United States (2004)
  • The Terror Timeline: a comprehensive chronicle of the road to 9/11 and America's response.

Victims and damage

  • - List of Victims
  • - In-Depth Specials - Damage report from the city of New York
  • - 9/11 by the Numbers: Death, destruction, charity, salvation, war, money, real estate, spouses, babies, and other September 11 statistics', New York Times

Further reading

  • Dwyer, Jim and Flynn, Kevin (2005). 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers. New York, NY: Times Books.
  • - 'September 11 Attacks' (directory category)
  • - 'September 11th Attacks' (directory category)
  • 911citizenswatch Oversight process led by 9/11 Families Advisory Group
  • Cooperative Research 9/11 Timeline extensive analysis of lead up to 9/11 and its aftermath


  1. ^  See #responsibility - in 2001 Bin laden made two statements including these comments: "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation... I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States... I had no knowledge of these attacks..."
  2. ^  Bhadra, Dipasis, and Pamela Texter. (2004) Airline Networks: An Econometric Framework to Analyze Domestic U.S. Air Travel, Journal of Transportation and Statistics. vol 7(1).
  3. ^  See [35] [36] [37].
  4. ^  [38] Kull, Steven. (October 3, 2003) Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War, Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa), University of Maryland.
  5. - 'National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States' (9/11 Commission official homepage)
  6. - 'The 9-11 Commission Report: The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States' (official commission report, 22 July 2004)
  7. - 'Forensics at New York's Ground Zero ends' ABC News (23 February 2005)
  8. Al Jazeera full transcript of bin Ladin's speech (1 November 2004)
  9. - 'Search the final report of the 9/11 Commission'
  10. - 'The 9-11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (official government edition)ar:11 سبتمبر 2001

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