When the rest of the world looks at America, most of them think about New York City. The most populous city in the nation with its towering skyscrapers and importance as being the financial hub of the nation are certainly worthy of the international attention.
When I was growing up, New York City brought visions of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. By 1973, The Big Apple was exemplified by the completion of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, that rose above the rest of the city. The World Trade Center housed a number of companies, many in the financial world and was viewed by many as being the financial beacon of America.
On this day, February 26, 1993, the World Trade Center became the beacon for terrorists when a van filled with 1,200 pounds of explosives detonated inside the parking basement of World Trade Center 1. The blast was intended to bring down the building with hopes that it would crash into the second tower, destroying it as well. Fortunately, the terrorists underestimated the strength of the World Trade Center building and the Tower remained standing.
However, it did blast a hole about 200 feet by 100 feet and several stories deep in the lower levels of the building. The blast killed six people and wounded over a thousand more. Among the injured were 88 firefighters, 35 police officers and 1 emergency services worker. Over 50,000 people were evacuated from the World Trade Center and neighboring buildings.
The blast also took out power to large sections of the two towers including the hotel, elevators, emergency communication, ventilation systems, lighting and the transmission towers on the top of the towers that handled most of the non-cable television stations in the city. The blast also damaged the emergency backup generators.
Sifting through the ruble, FBI agents discovered parts of the van used in the bombing including the vehicle identification number and traced it to the rental company.
On March 4, Mohammad Salameh, an Islamic fundamentalist with an expired visa, was arrested at the Ryder rental center when he showed up and tried to get a refund on the van used in the bombing.
On March 5, authorities obtained a search warrant and discovered a plethora of bomb-making equipment in a shed that Salameh rented. Five days later, authorities arrested Nidal Ayyad at his home in New Jersey and he was charged as being one of the bombing conspirators. Within the next several months, authorities arrested two more conspirators, Mahmud Abouhalima and Ahmad Ajaj. Abouhalima was arrested in Egypt and was soon extradited to the United States. The four of them went on trial in October 1993 and were convicted on March 4, 1994. Each of the terrorists were sentenced to 240 years. However, a liberal judge vacated the sentences in 1998 and they were re-sentenced to over 100 years each in 1999.
Investigation led authorities to suspect Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman of being involved since all four of the terrorists were frequent visitors to the New Jersey mosque where Rahman preached. The cleric denied any involvement, but on August 25, 1993, Rahman was indicted for being part of the terrorist plot to blow up the World Trade Center. In October 1995, Sheik Rahman was convicted for his part in the conspiracy and given a life sentence.
The investigations led authorities to believe that Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was the mastermind behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In a joint effort of the FBI and State Department, Yousef was captured overseas on February 7, 1995 and returned to the US. On January 8, 1998, Yousef was sentenced to 240 years in prison after proudly telling the courtroom “I am a terrorist and proud of it.”
In April 1998, Eyad Ismoil was convicted and sentenced to 240 years in prison for driving the van of explosives and parking it in the World Trade Center.
In hindsight, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing appears to have been the precursor to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers that killed several thousand and brought the towers crashing to the ground.
The February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was only the beginning of Islamic terrorist attacks on America. What’s scary today is that Barack Obama continues to allow possible Islamic terrorists to easily enter the US via the border with Mexico. It doesn’t matter to him that a dozen or so possible terrorists have already been arrested trying to cross the border, Obama still refuses to secure the border and protect America. One has to wonder if that’s part of his plan to Islamize America.
Sources for the above include: World Trade Center is bombed; Remembering the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing; First Strike: Global Terror in America; 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Fast Facts; 1993 World Trade Center Bombing; ISIS Terrorists Captured Entering US across Mexican Border; 14 Muslims Arrested Trying to Cross Arizona and Texas Borders.