1993 bombing of World Trade Center.
It was Friday, February 26, 1993, and Middle Eastern terrorism had arrived on American soil—with a bang . At about 17 minutes past noon, a thunderous explosion rocked lower Manhattan. The target was the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center, where a massive eruption carved out a nearly 100-foot crater several stories deep and several more high. Six people were killed almost instantly. Smoke and flames began filling the wound and streaming upward into the building. Those who weren’t trapped were soon pouring out of the building—many panic-stricken and covered in soot. More than a thousand people were hurt. City authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undertook a massive manhunt for suspects, and within days several radical Islamic fundamentalists were arrested. In March 1994, Mohammed Salameh, Ahmad Ajaj, Nidal Ayyad, and Mahmoud Abouhalima were convicted by a federal jury for their role in the bombing, and each was sentenced to life in prison. The mastermind of the attack, Ramzi Ahmed Youse remained at large until February 1995, when he was arrested in Pakistan. He had previously been in the Philippines, and in a computer he left there the FBI found terrorist plans that included a plot to kill Pope John Paul II and a plan to bomb 15 American airliners in 48 hours. Ramzi Yousef’s plan was to topple one tower, with the collapsing debris knocking down the second. This bombing acted as a trail for 9/11, with the help of Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda would later return to realize Yousef’s nightmarish vision.