- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

NEW YORK, Sept 11 (AFP) The World Trade Center bombing of Feb. 26, 1993, has gone down in modern history as "the day that shook the world" because it was the first time that the arm of Arab terrorism had struck at the heart of the United States.
The 110-story twin towers of the WTC are a landmark and a symbol of American capitalism, and the fact that bombers could infiltrate such a high-profile target sent shock waves around the globe and fear into the hearts of Americans.
The bombers simply drove a minibus packed with 1,100 pounds of explosives on board into the car park beneath the building and calmly walked away, leaving the bomb to go off, miraculously killing only six people, but injuring 1,000 others and causing more than $300 million worth of damage.
The blast was so intense that it caused the collapse of the steel-reinforced concrete floor beneath the van at the second underground level. Tons of debris in turn piled up on the sixth underground level, and the force of the blast blew a steel fire door off its hinges. It ended up in a wall 35 feet away.
The bombers clearly knew what they were doing, as the minibus was parked at a point where it could do the most damage.
It knocked out the electric power plant for the entire seven-building complex and shopping concourse, plunging the whole area with more than 50,000 people inside into darkness and depriving them of power for the elevators.
The building, one of the most prominent on the lower Manhattan skyline, is the world's largest commercial complex, with many businesses, government agencies and international trade organizations.
In 1995, blind Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and nine other militant Muslims (Sudanese, Egyptian, American, and Jordanian citizens) were convicted of conspiracy and other charges related to the bombing.
It was not until 1998, however, that the so-called mastermind, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was convicted of the bombing and sentenced to life plus 240 years in prison.
However, the shadow of Saudi terror master Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted man still at large, hangs over the attack.


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