The Attacks on September 11th, 2001

What Happened?

On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.

The Attackers

The attackers were Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations. Reportedly financed by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization, they were allegedly acting in retaliation for America’s support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War and its continued military presence in the Middle East. Some lived in the US for months before the attacks and some even took flying lessons in the US. They easily smuggled box cutters and knives onto planes in the east coast that had destinations in the west. After take off, they took control of the planes by force and basically turned the planes into guided missiles
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The First Three Planes Reached Their Targets

The first plane, American Airlines 767 crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center around the 80th floor at 8:45 Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001. 18 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 appeared and turned sharply and flew into the South tower around the 60th floor. As millions watched the events unfolding in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C., and slammed into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:45 a.m. Around 10:00 the South tower of the World Trade center collapsed and about 30 minutes later the North tower collapsed.
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The Forth Did Not

Meanwhile, a fourth California-bound plane–United Flight 93–was hijacked about 40 minutes after leaving Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Because the plane had been delayed in taking off, passengers on board were able to learn of the events in New York and Washington. After the hijackers took over the plane, the passengers knew what was going on and several of them gathered together and made a plan to retake the plane. As they attempted to retake the plane, it went into a nose dive and hit ground in a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania around 10:10 a.m. All of the passengers and crew were killed.