September 11, 2001 attacks

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

The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of suicide attacks against the United States conducted on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. According to the official 9/11 Commission Report, nineteen men affiliated with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, a loose network of Sunni Islamist terrorists, simultaneously hijacked four U.S. domestic commercial airliners. Two were crashed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City — one into each of the two tallest towers, about 18 minutes apart — shortly after which both towers collapsed. The third aircraft was crashed into the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters, the Pentagon, in Arlington County, Virginia. The fourth plane was 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.

The 9/11 Commission reported that these attackers turned the hijacked planes into the largest suicide bombs in history in one of the most lethal acts ever carried out in the United States. 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 and military effects that followed in the United States and many other parts of the world.


The attacks

Sept. 11, 2001 attacks
Background history
September 11, 2001
Rest of September
Foreign casualties
Hijacked airliners
American Airlines Flight 11
United Airlines Flight 175
American Airlines Flight 77
United Airlines Flight 93
Sites of destruction
World Trade Center
The Pentagon
Government response
World political effects
World economic effects
Airport security
Closings and cancellations
Audiovisual entertainment
Rescue and recovery effort
Financial assistance
Memorials and services
Slogans and terms
Conspiracy theories
U.S. Congress Inquiry
9/11 Commission

The attacks involved the hijacking of four commercial airliners. With jet fuel capacities of nearly 24,000 U.S. gallons (91,000 litres), 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 New York City 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 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, four on United 93 and five each on the other three flights (though confusion remains over their exact names and photographs, with some of those first identified still alive in Saudi Arabia[1]). The hijackers reportedly took control of the aircraft by using box cutter knives to kill flight attendants and at least one pilot or passenger. On American 77, one of the passengers reported that the hijackers used utility knives.[2] 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, DC but Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is in U.S. custody, said the intended target was the U.S. Capitol. Black box recordings reportedly revealed that passengers led by Todd Beamer and Jeremy Glick 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. [3] Captured al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed the 9/11 Panel reports that Flight 93's target was the 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 comes before the day, as opposed to the British style, where this convention is reversed. Both are pronounced "nine-eleven", though a few people prefer "nine-one-one" (the same as the telephone number for emergency services in the US, 9-1-1). Some people dislike the use of "nine-eleven" 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. Many also dislike it due its similarity to Y2K in that it trivializes what happened and that nobody uses "12/7" to refer to the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Nonetheless, "nine-eleven" is the most common form. With the Madrid attacks 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.

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).


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.
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.
CNN broadcast of September 11 destruction when the second plane struck the south tower of the WTC.
CNN broadcast of September 11 destruction when the second plane struck the south tower of the WTC.
Security camera image of the moment that The Pentagon was hit
Security camera image of the moment that The Pentagon was hit
Clouds of smoke billow out of the Pentagon.
Clouds of smoke billow out of the Pentagon.
Lower Manhattan as seen from New Jersey, shortly after the attacks
Lower Manhattan as seen from New Jersey, shortly after the attacks
Photo of the impact crater left by the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA (USGS)
Photo of the impact crater left by the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA (USGS)
Main article: Responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks

The militant Islamist group al-Qaeda, which had been accused of several previous attacks on American targets, was blamed for the attacks although its leader Osama bin Laden denied involvement and knowledge of the incidents. Osama bin Laden had 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.

The first public response from Osama bin Laden was read on September 16, 2001. He stated, "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. ([4], [5], [6]). 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. He 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. " [7].

According to U.S. military sources, 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. In the tape, Osama seems to admit planning the attacks, though the translation provided some dispute [8]. The tape was broadcast on various news networks in December 2001.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known as the 9-11 Commission, 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.

Collapse of Towers

Main article: Collapse of the World Trade Center

Civil engineers and the official report concluded that the collapse of 1 and 2 WTC occurred because of the following series of events: the impact of the aircraft both damaged a large number of the external structural supports of the building, and dislocated fireproofing from a large numbers of others. The explosion of the aircraft and the fuel ignited the contents of the floors around impact. This began compromising individual support structures. When enough had failed, this began a chain reaction where the buildings "pancaked" downward, each floor destroying the support of the floor below it.

Intuitively many people think that the buildings should have "tipped over". This misapprehension has caused a great deal of speculation that some form of controlled demolition would have been required. Instead, for very tall buildings the reverse is true: before the building could "tip" over, enough structural supports would have to be separated to cause floors to fall downwards. This was seen as parts of the outside of the towers did indeed fall laterally, peeling away from the rest of the structure. [9]

The conclusion drawn is that the buckling of the horizontal steel supports separated them from the vertical supports. The horizontal steel floors were supported by trusses which were inadequately fireproofed and hence the steel supports softened when exposed to fire and failed. This failure caused the floor to fall downwards. When a floor failed completely, this set off a chain reaction where the floor fell, sheared away the floor below it, and then the combined mass fails even more quickly. This process was considerably slower than the terminal velocity of the rubble alone, but faster than the terminal velocity of relatively small objects that people are generally familiar with, which have much higher surface area to volume ratios, and are generally less dense.

In short, two important intuitive notions on how things fall - that objects are rigid enough to tip, and terminal velocity of objects, caused untrained observers to conclude that the way in which the towers fell resembled a process called "controlled demolition". This is because they fell straight down, at a slightly lower velocity than that of an object in free-fall, with each floor showing little resistance. Some who believe in a conspiracy theory about the attacks continue to press the "controlled demolition" claim.


The September 11th attacks were consistent with a campaign against the United States by Al-Qaeda. The group's involvement in the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania is widely suspected, and Al-Qaeda had declared responsibility for the 2000 USS Cole in Yemen.

The motivation for this campaign were set out in a 1998 fatwa [10] 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 justify 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 confirm this motivation. In a 2004 video, apparently acknowledging responsibility for the attacks, Bin Laden claims that the motivation included the wish to "restore freedom to our nation"; to "punish the aggressor in kind", and create economic damage to America - declaring a continuing aim of his holy war was "bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy". [11]

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

The Bush administration, however, claims that Al-Qaeda was motivated rather by hatred of the freedom and democracy exemplified by the United States. Both the United States and Al-Qaeda present the conflict as a battle between Goodness and Evil. Others have pointed to Al-Qaeda's comments and methods to contend that Al-Qaeda's motivation is to impose a tyrannical World Order based on the organization's interpretation of Islam.

A relatively small minority reject the determination that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks; often citing the CIA or Mossad or pro-Zionists elements as perpetrators. Others, while accepting Al-Qaeda's culpability, allege that members of the American government withheld foreknowledge of the attacks, silently sanctioning them. In both cases, the suggested motivation was to create a pretext for an American military expansion in the Middle East; ultimately to further the realization of those US aims alleged above. Others suggest that the attacks were carried out by Palestinians or by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government.

Main article: 9/11 conspiracy theories


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.
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.
The Honolulu Advertiser was mindful of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 in its headline.
The Honolulu Advertiser was mindful of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 in its headline.
View of the WTC and the Statue of Liberty.
View of the WTC and the Statue of Liberty.
Main article: Aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks

International reaction

The attacks had major world-wide political effects. The attacks were denounced world-wide, with the headline of Paris, France's "Le Monde" newspaper being prototypical: "Today We Are All Americans." Approximately one month after the attacks the USA led a wide coalition of international forces into Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaeda forces. 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. It arrested over six hundred supposed Al-Qaeda members and handed them over to the U.S.[12]

Many countries introduced tough anti-terrorism legislation and took action to cut off terrorist finances, including the freezing of bank accounts suspected of being used to fund terrorism. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies stepped up cooperation to arrest terrorist suspects and break up suspected terrorist cells around the world. This process was highly controversial, as self-imposed restrictions (the restrictions of COINTELPRO, blocking the monitoring of public meetings are one example) on government authority were lifted and certain civil rights protections were perceived to be violated. The controversy was highlighted in September 2004 when Yusuf Islam, a leading British Muslim noted for his peaceful charitable work and previously known as the singer Cat Stevens, was barred from entering the U.S. and was subsequently returned to the UK after his flight was briefly diverted to Maine. Yusuf Islam's expulsion led to a complaint from British foreign secretary, Jack Straw 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.

There were several widespread public reactions in the U.S. to the attacks. One was a surge in patriotism and flag-waving not seen since World War II. There was also an unprecedented level of respect, sympathy, and admiration for New York City and New Yorkers as a group by Americans from other parts of the U.S. Some criticized this particular reaction, noting that not everyone who died was from New York (for example, some of the passengers on the planes). However, New York City clearly 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)."[13]

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 US 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 economic repercussions 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 the streets surrounding the Stock Exchange on Wall Street are still barricaded and heavily guarded to prevent a physical attack upon the building.

North American air space was closed for several days after the attacks and air travel decreased significantly upon its reopening. As of 2005, the U.S. airline industry has not fully recovered, and only a handful of American airline corporations are performing well.

All towers in the United States were evacuated during the aftermath of 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 as most businesses were closed.

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

There is scientific speculation that exposure to various toxic products and the pollutant 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 interviews 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.
September 13, 2001: A New York City firefighter looks up at what remains of the South Tower.
Buildings surrounding the World Trade Center were heavily damaged by the debris and massive force of the falling twin towers.
Buildings surrounding the World Trade Center were heavily damaged by the debris and massive force of the falling twin towers.

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.

7 World Trade Center collapsed in the late afternoon of September 11. For details on its collapse see: Destruction of 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 [14] 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, and contradictions which have later come to light, continue to fuel speculation. Some skeptics have formed what they call a "9/11 Truth Movement."

There have been several books published detailing alternative narratives of the 911 attacks, and there are a large number of websites devoted to promoting alternative stories of the September 11th attacks. Most fall into the genre of conspiracy theories. See: 9/11 conspiracy theories for more information.

20th hijacker

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 participated. Other would-be hijackers are often referred to as the 20th hijackers.

Ramzi Binalshibh 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 never completed because the al-Qaeda hierarchy 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 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 and Melbourne.


Memorials to the victims and heroes of 9/11 have been constructed or planned. There is a memorial at the Pentagon, called the Pentagon Memorial designed by Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman of KBAS of New York, NY that is already constructed. [15]

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.

There is also a memorial planned at the WTC site called Reflecting Absence which was the design winner and has been generally praised. The proposal, however, to include the International Freedom Center, a museum of the American values of freedom as well as inhumane and genocidal acts through history, on the site has also created controversy. George Soros is a promoter of the International Freedom Center. An organization called Take Back The Memorial was started, including 9/11 victim families, to protest any linkage between historical acts that could be interpreted as justification for what occurred on 9/11. [16]

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 terrorists crashed jets 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.


George W. Bush's speech on September 11, 2001 about the attacks (info)
George W. Bush's speech on September 12, 2001 about the attacks (info)
Problems listening to the files? See media help.

See also

Aerial view of the World Trade Center site after the attacks.
Aerial view of the World Trade Center site after the attacks.



External links

September 11 Wiki

Manhattan from Jersey City on the 2004 memorial of the September 11 attacks.
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
  • 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.
  • - 'Historical 9-11-01 Books'
  • 9/11 Bookshelf lists alternative books on 9/11
  • 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

Personal tools