In the early 1960’s, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Austin J Tobin, brought forward the proposal for a giant skyscraper complex in order to accommodate for much needed office space in Lower Manhattan. The plan was met with considerable opposition at first, but Tobin’s proposal eventually succeeded, and Japanese-American Minoru Yamasaki was commissioned to design the building. Yamasaki projected a novel design for a development that included two 110 storey ‘twin towers’. Upon completion in 1971, they were the tallest towers in the world, a record the infrastructure held for two years.
The magnificent World Trade Centre complex which in 2001 included five other buildings in addition to the iconic Twin Towers occupied six-and-a-half hectares and provides office space for an estimated 50,000 people. In addition, approximately 40,000 business visitors and tourists were expected there each day. Besides office space, the World Trade Centre housed a hotel, a police station, the highest restaurant in New York City, ‘Windows of the World’, snack bars, and an underground shopping centre. Approximately 400 metres high, tourists could enjoy spectacular 70,000 metre views, atop the highest air observation deck in the world located on South Tower. Underneath the complex, parking garages and subway tunnels would accommodate the daily flow of traffic.
The Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre quickly became a symbol of trade and commerce in the United States.
On Friday, February 26th, 1993, a yellow rental van drove into the underground garage of the World Trade Centre. An 880 kilogram homemade bomb was concealed inside the van. The driver parked and departed. Just after noon, the bomb exploded. The impact of the explosion smashed cars and trucks, crumbled concrete, and damaged steel columns that held up the North Tower. The point of impact, blasted out a crater almost 45 metres in diameter and more than five stories deep.
The terrorists hoped the bomb would cause the towers to collapse; they failed in this regard, but six victims were killed, and estimates show at least 1000 others were injured.
Six men (members of Al-Qaeda) were arrested and charged for conspiring to bomb the World Trade Centre. They were trialled in the United States courts and found guilty of multiple crimes, including murder. Each man was sentenced to at least 240 years in jail. At the time, it was one of the deadliest acts of terrorism ever to occur in the United States.
The terrorists, responsible for the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing and the eventual 9/11 terrorist acts were a part of a terrorist organisation called Al-Qaeda. The group was founded in Pakistan in 1988 by the Saudi born millionaire Osama bin Laden and his Islamist mentor, Abdullah Azzam.
In the 1970s bin Laden attended King Abdul University in Jeddah, here, Osama bin Laden is thought to have fallen under the influence of Abdullah Azzam, an extremist Islamist scholar. Azzam is...