Act Of Terrorism In US On September 11, 2001
Eighteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda (terrorist organization, outlawed in Russia) suicide bombers hijacked four passenger planes in the United States, sending two to New York's World Trade Center towers and the other two to the Pentagon and, presumably, the White House or the Capitol
All the airplanes, except for the last one, reached their targets. The fourth plane crashed in a field near the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The number of casualties in the terrorist attacks on September 11 amounted to 2,977, including 343 firefighters, 60 policemen, and foreigners from 92 countries.
Among the nineteen terrorists who died in the attacks, there were Egyptian, Lebanese, Saudi and UAE citizens.
The World Trade Center (WTC) included seven buildings. Two 110-story twin towers, the North Tower and the South Tower, were the central elements of the complex. Each building had office rooms for about 35,000 people and 430 companies.
At 8:46 a.m. local time (15:45 GMT), American Airlines'(AA) Boeing 767 with 81 passengers and 11 crew members on board en route from Boston to Los Angeles crashed into the North Tower of the WTC in Manhattan between the 93rd and 99th floors.
At 9:03 a.m., a United Airlines (UA)-operated Boeing 767 with 56 passengers, including five terrorists, and nine crew members en route from Boston to Los Angeles crashed into the South Tower between the 77th and 85th floors.
At 9:37 a.m., an AA-operated Boeing 757 with 58 passengers, including five terrorists, and six crew members on board en route from Washington to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon.
At 10:03 a.m., a UA-operated Boeing 757 with 37 passengers, including four terrorists, and seven crew members en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco crashed in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania outside Shanksville, 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Washington.
The planes that crashed into the WTC buildings had full fuel tanks. As a result of a severe fire, the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m., and the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
Debris from the towers also damaged and destroyed other buildings in and around the complex, including the 47-story WTC-7 building. The fire in the North Tower lasted for almost seven hours.
At 5:20 p.m. the WTC-7 building collapsed.
The exact amount of damage caused by the attacks is unknown. In September 2006, President George W. Bush said that the damage caused amounted to at least $500 billion.
On September 11, 2011, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum was opened at the site of the destroyed twin towers in New York. The memorial is a park with more than 400 white oak trees that surround two pools with waterfalls. The names of almost 3,000 victims of the attacks are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the twin Memorial pools. The museum located on the territory of the memorial is the main US institution involved in exploring the implications of the events of September 11.
In 2002, September 11 was made Patriot Day in the United States. Since 2009, following the approval of Act 111-13 of US General Law, this date has been referred to as the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
On November 27, 2002, an independent commission to investigate the September 11 attacks (9/11 Commission) was created in the United States. In 2004, the commission issued a final report on the circumstances of the tragedy. One of the main findings of the 600-page document was the recognition that the perpetrators took advantage of "deep administrative failures" in the US government.
The last chapter of the report was classified: the 28-page section, suggesting a possible connection between terrorists and representatives of the Saudi authorities, was published only in July 2016. However, the commission did not provide any credible evidence of the possible links in the report.
The only person convicted of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the United States is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan origin. He was arrested in August 2001 after graduating from a flight school in Oklahoma and undergoing training on a Boeing-747 simulator in Minnesota. In April 2005, Moussaoui was found guilty of intending to carry out a terrorist attack, which was to become the fifth in a series of tragic events of September 11, 2001. Moussaoui admitted in court that he received personal instructions from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to use a plane to strike the White House in Washington.
In May 2006, he was sentenced to life in prison by a decision of the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
Six other suspects were arrested in 2002 and 2003 and spent several years in CIA prisons.
In 2006, they were taken to the Guantanamo Base in Cuba.
In February 2008, the US Defense Department charged six inmates with murder and war crimes as part of the investigation of the September 11 attacks.
Charges were brought against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who according to the report of the 9/11 Commission was the central figure in the September 11 attacks; native of Yemen Ramzi bin Shibh who, according to investigators, was in charge of al-Qaeda logistics in Hamburg, Germany; Mohammed Qahtani, who on September 11, 2001, was supposed to be the 20th hijacker on four US planes; nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and native of Kuwait Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Havsavi and Walid bin Attash from Saudi Arabia. As was revealed in the investigation, the latter three were Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's henchmen, doing the legwork involved in preparing for the terrorist attacks that the Pakistani planned.
In May 2008, the Pentagon withdrew charges against Mohammed Qahtani.
After the US president at the time, Barack Obama, ordered to suspend the military prosecutor's office activities in Guantanamo and promised to close the institution in January 2009, the military authorities had to drop their charges. However, the ex-president's promise remains unfulfilled.
With no support in Congress, Obama ordered to resume military trials for the Guantanamo terrorist suspects in early March 2011.
In early April 2011, US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects will be brought not before a US civil court, but rather a special Guantanamo military commission.
On May 31, 2011, the US Military Prosecutor's Office filed charges against five suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, again accusing them of being involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
On May 5, 2012, a military court formally charged five men suspected of involvement in the 9/11 attacks. They were charged with conspiracy, an attack against civilians, intentional infliction of bodily harm, murder, a violation of the laws of war, causing destruction, hijacking a plane and terrorism. All five defendants refused to plead guilty.
In July 2014, a military court in Guantanamo ruled that the trial of one of the five accused of involvement in the terrorist attacks - Ramzi bin Shibh - should be carried out separately due to a "serious mental illness" diagnosed by US military doctors.
In March 2017, families of 9/11 victims filed a new lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for its alleged support of al-Qaeda terror group and facilitation of the terror attacks. In April, it was disclosed that over two dozens US insurance companies filed lawsuits against two Saudi banks and companies linked to Osama bin Laden, demanding at least $4.2 billion. In August, Saudi Arabia addressed the Manhattan Court to dismiss 25 claims, citing the lack of evidence of terror links.
Later, more than two dozen US insurance organizations filed a lawsuit against two banks in Saudi Arabia and companies associated with Osama bin Laden's family, as well as against several charity organizations, for a total amount of at least $4.2 billion in connection with the September 11 attacks.
In July 2019, it was reported that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed announced his readiness to testify in court in victims' lawsuit against Saudi Arabia if the US authorities do not seek the death penalty against him.
In August 2019, The New York Times reported that a military court in the United States set a trial date of January 11, 2021, for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's death penalty trial.
The United States is also demanding compensation for the victims of the 9/11 attack from the Islamic Republic of Iran, although the commission that investigated the attacks did not find direct evidence of the country's involvement.
However, in 2016, US District Judge George Daniels ruled that Tehran failed to prove that it was not involved in helping the organizers of the attack, and therefore the Iranian authorities bear a share of responsibility for the harm caused.
Around the same time, a US court issued a default judgment, according to which Iran should pay compensation in the amount of more than $10.5 billion to the families of victims and to a group of insurance companies.
In May 2018, a US court ordered the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Central Bank of Iran to pay billions of dollars in compensation to the relatives of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, as it recognized them involved in the deaths of 1,008 people. A court in New York decided that the arguments that Tehran allegedly provided financial assistance to the al-Qaeda terrorist group were sufficient to reach a decision.