September 11 attacks

September 11 attacks
Part of terrorism in the United States
Black smoke billowing over Manhattan from the Twin Towers
Rescue workers climb through rubble and smoke at the World Trade Center site, and an American flag flies at left
A portion of the Pentagon charred and collapsed, exposing the building's interior
A fragment of Flight 93's metal fuselage with two windows, sitting in a forest
Illuminated water falls into the square 9/11 Memorial south pool at sunset, and glass-clad One World Trade Center and other skyscrapers rise in the background
Location
DateSeptember 11, 2001 (2001-09-11)
8:14 a.m.[a] – 10:03 a.m.[b] (EDT)
Target
Attack type
Deaths2,996
(2,977 victims + 19 al-Qaeda terrorists)
InjuredUnknown - at least 6,000 [c]
PerpetratorsAl-Qaeda,[1] led by Osama bin Laden (see also: responsibility)
No. of participants
19
MotiveSeveral; see Motives for the September 11 attacks and Fatawā of Osama bin Laden

The September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11,[d] were four coordinated suicide terrorist attacks carried out by the militant Islamic extremist network al-Qaeda[2][3][4] against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners scheduled to travel from the northeastern U.S. to California. The hijackers crashed the first two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and the third plane into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the American military) in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane was intended to hit a federal government building[e] in Washington, D.C., but crashed in a field following a passenger revolt.[5] The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and instigated the global war on terror.

The first impact was that of American Airlines Flight 11 at 8:46 am, into the North Tower of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. Seventeen minutes later, at 9:03 am,[f] the World Trade Center's South Tower was hit by United Airlines Flight 175. Both 110-story towers collapsed within an hour and forty-two minutes, precipitating the collapse of other World Trade Center structures including 7 World Trade Center, and damaging nearby buildings. A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the west side of the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, at 9:37 am, causing a partial collapse. The fourth and final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, flew in the direction of Washington, D.C. Alerted of the previous attacks, the plane's passengers attempted to regain control, but the hijackers ultimately crashed the plane in a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, near Shanksville, at 10:03 am. Investigators determined that Flight 93 was targeting either the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

Within hours of the attacks, suspicion quickly fell onto al-Qaeda. The United States formally responded by launching the war on terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had not complied with U.S. demands to expel al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and extradite its leader, Osama bin Laden. The U.S.'s invocation of Article 5 of NATO—its only usage to date—called upon allies to fight al-Qaeda. As U.S. and NATO ground forces swept through Afghanistan, bin Laden fled to the White Mountains, where he narrowly avoided capture by U.S.-led forces.[10] Although bin Laden initially denied any involvement, in 2004 he formally claimed responsibility for the attacks.[1] Al-Qaeda's cited motivations included U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq. After evading capture for almost a decade, bin Laden was killed by the U.S. military on May 2, 2011.

The attacks resulted in 2,977 non-hijacker fatalities, an indeterminate number of injuries, and substantial long-term health consequences, in addition to at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.[11][12] It remains the deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in U.S. history, with 340[13] and 72 killed,[14][15] respectively. The destruction of the World Trade Center and its environs seriously harmed the New York City economy and induced global market shocks. Many other countries strengthened anti-terrorism legislation and expanded their powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site (colloquially "Ground Zero") took eight months and was completed in May 2002, while the Pentagon was repaired within a year. After delays in the design of a replacement complex, the One World Trade Center began construction in November 2006 and opened in November 2014.[16][17] Memorials to the attacks include the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial at the Pennsylvania crash site.


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  1. ^ a b "Bin Laden claims responsibility for 9/11". CBC News. October 29, 2004. Retrieved September 1, 2011. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared in a new message aired on an Arabic TV station Friday night, for the first time claiming direct responsibility for the 2001 attacks against the United States.
  2. ^ Moghadam, Assaf (2008). The Globalization of Martyrdom: Al Qaeda, Salafi Jihad, and the Diffusion of Suicide Attacks. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-8018-9055-0.
  3. ^ Livesey, Bruce (January 25, 2005). "Special Reports – The Salafist Movement: Al Qaeda's New Front". PBS Frontline. WGBH educational foundation. Retrieved October 18, 2011.Geltzer, Joshua A. (2011). US Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View (reprint ed.). Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-415-66452-3.
  4. ^ Wright (2006), p. 79.
  5. ^ Janos, Adam. "How United Flight 93 Passengers Fought Back on 9/11". HISTORY. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  6. ^ 9/11 Commission 2004a, pp. 7–8.
  7. ^ 9/11 Commission 2004b, p. 24.
  8. ^ NIST 2005, p. 27.
  9. ^ "Timeline for United Airlines Flight 175". NPR. June 17, 2004. Archived from the original on August 24, 2021. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Corera, Gordon (July 21, 2011). "Bin Laden's Tora Bora escape, just months after 9/11". BBC News.
  11. ^ "How much did the September 11 terrorist attack cost America?". Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  12. ^ Morgan, Matthew J. (August 4, 2009). The Impact of 9/11 on Politics and War: The Day that Changed Everything?. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-230-60763-7.
  13. ^ "Deadliest incidents resulting in the deaths of 8 or more firefighters". National Fire Protection Association.
  14. ^ "Deadliest Days in Law Enforcement History". National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Archived from the original on February 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "Congressional Record, Vol. 148, No. 76" (PDF). Government Printing Office. June 11, 2002. p. H3312. Mr. Hefley: That fateful Tuesday we lost 72 police officers, the largest single loss of law enforcement personnel in a single day in the history of our country.
  16. ^ Moore, Jack (November 3, 2014). "World Trade Center Re-opens as Tallest Building in America". onewtc.com. Archived from the original on September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Smith, Aaron (November 3, 2014). "One World Trade Center opens today". CNN. Retrieved November 4, 2014.

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