A Brief History
On February 26, 1993, New Yorkers were shaken during their lunch break by the explosion of a giant bomb!
Digging deeper (through the rubble) we find the same Arab-Muslim gang of terrorists who would later perpetrate the September 11, 2001 attacks plotting to take down the World Trade Center, a target they saw as the heart of American capitalism in a city known for having a large Jewish population.
The plan was to place a giant 1,300-pound bomb in a rental van which would then be parked in the basement parking garage where the explosion was expected to cause one tower to topple into the other one, completing their destruction. The bomb mainly consisted of urea nitrate around cylinders of compressed hydrogen, the idea being the hydrogen would greatly amplify the effects of the explosion. The terrorists also packed flammable metal particles around the bomb to enhance the incendiary effects as well. The bomb was triggered by an initiating charge of gunpowder, nitroglycerine, ammonium nitrate and dynamite. This type of construction can create a very powerful pushing effect that is effective in blasting out concrete walls as well as generate a tremendous amount of heat and fire to destroy evidence and further the destructive effect.
After the van was parked in the basement garage, the terrorists left and lit a 20-foot fuse. Twelve minutes later, the bomb went off! Tremendous damage was caused by the huge blast which left behind a hole almost 100 feet across through 4 levels of concrete and steel! The building on top of it, however, did not fall. The dense smoke choked survivors and permeated all the way to the 93rd floor, especially in the stairwells. Luckily, although successful in creating more confusion and making evacuation more difficult, the smoke did not have the deadly effect the terrorists intended.
Six innocent people died in the blast, ranging in age from 36 to 61, the youngest of whom was 7 months pregnant! Over 1,000 people were injured, but thankfully the death toll was not as high as the terrorists had wanted. It is speculated that cyanide had been added to the explosives in order to make the smoke more deadly and that the fiery blast destroyed the cyanide, but that has not been proven.
All but one of the perpetrators of this terrible attack were caught and convicted; with the last one allegedly being held in an Iraqi jail until he disappeared during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The almost incredibly cracked angle to this story is the 2006 court decision ruling that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Port was liable for damages to the victims caused by the bombing! Double cracked was the appeals court decision that upheld the first court! Question for students (and subscribers): Does this sentence make sense? Is it fair? Tell us what you think in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, see…
Caram, Peter. The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing: Foresight and Warning. Janus Publishing Company, 2001.
Libman, Leslie and Larry Williams, dirs. Path to Paradise: Based on the True Story of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. HBO Studios, 2009. DVD.
Minute By Minute: 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. A&E Home Video, 2005. DVD.