September 11 attacks (called September 11, September 11th or 9/11), were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. areas on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours. Hijackers crashed a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth jet, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could reach its intended target in Washington, D.C. after the passengers attempted to take control. Nearly 3,000 died in the attacks.
Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda, and in 2004, the group's leader Osama bin Laden, who had initially denied involvement, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives for the attacks. The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror, invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda members. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. In May 2011, after years at large, bin Laden was found and killed.
The destruction caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan.Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is scheduled to open on September 11, 2011. Adjacent to the memorial the 1,776 feet (541 m) One World Trade Center is estimated for completion by 2013. The Pentagon was repaired within a year, and the Pentagon Memorial opened, adjacent to the building, in 2008. Ground was broken for the Flight 93 National Memorial in November 2009, and the memorial was formally dedicated on September 10, 2011.The death toll of the attacks was 2,996, including the 19 hijackers. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries. In addition, there is at least one secondary death – one person was ruled by a medical examiner to have died from lung disease due to exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse.
The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror: it invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. The United States also enacted the USA PATRIOT Act. Many other countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Some American stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week following the attack and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars worth of office space caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan.
The damage to the Pentagon was cleared and repaired within a year, and the Pentagon Memorial was built adjacent to the building. The rebuilding process has started on the World Trade Center site. In 2006 a new office tower was completed on the site of 7 World Trade Center. 1 World Trade Center is currently under construction at the site and, at 1,776 ft (541 m) upon completion in 2013, it will become one of the tallest buildings in North America. Three more towers were originally expected to be built between 2007 and 2012 on the site. Ground was broken for the Flight 93 National Memorial on November 8, 2009, and the first phase of construction is expected to be ready for the 10th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2011.
All about: Timeline for the day of the September 11 attacks
Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers took control of four commercial airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington, D.C. (Washington Dulles International Airport). At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower, followed by United Airlines Flight 175 which hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m.
Another group of hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m, after the passengers on board engaged in a fight with the hijackers. Its ultimate target was thought to be either the Capitol (the meeting place of the United States Congress) or the White House.
In a September 2002 interview conducted by documentary-maker Yosri Fouda, an al Jazeera journalist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh stated that the fourth hijacked plane was heading for the United States Capitol, not for the White House. They further stated that Al-Qaeda initially planned to fly hijacked jets into nuclear installations rather than the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but it was decided not to attack nuclear power plants "for the moment" because of fears it could "get out of control".
During the hijacking of the airplanes, the hijackers used weapons to stab and kill aircraft pilots, flight attendants and passengers. Reports from phone callers from the planes indicated that knives were used by the hijackers to stab attendants and in at least one case, a passenger, during two of the hijackings. Some passengers were able to make phone calls using the cabin airphone service and mobile phones, and provide details, including that several hijackers were aboard each plane, that mace or other form of noxious chemical spray, such as tear gas or pepper spray was used, and that some people aboard had been stabbed.
The 9/11 Commission established that two of the hijackers had recently purchased Leatherman multi-function hand tools.A flight attendant on Flight 11, a passenger on Flight 175, and passengers on Flight 93 mentioned that the hijackers had bombs, but one of the passengers also mentioned he thought the bombs were fake. No traces of explosives were found at the crash sites, and the 9/11 Commission believed the bombs were probably fake.See more about 9 11
On United Airlines Flight 93, black box recordings revealed that crew and passengers attempted to seize control of the plane from the hijackers after learning through phone calls that similarly hijacked planes had been crashed into buildings that morning.According to the transcript of Flight 93's recorder, one of the hijackers gave the order to roll the plane once it became evident that they would lose control of the plane to the passengers. Soon afterward, the aircraft crashed into a field near Shanksville in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, at 10:03:11 a.m. local time (14:03:11 UTC). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, organizer of the attacks, mentioned in a 2002 interview with Yosri Fouda that Flight 93's target was the United States Capitol, which was given the code name "the Faculty of Law".
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