September 11 attacks
|September 11 attacks|
From top to bottom: the World Trade Center burning; a section of The Pentagon collapses; Flight 175 crashes into 2 WTC; a fireman requests help at Ground Zero; an engine from Flight 93 is recovered; Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
|Location||New York City; Arlington County, Virginia; and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.|
|Date||Tuesday, September 11, 2001
8:46 a.m. – 10:28 a.m. (UTC-04:00)
|Attack type||Aircraft hijacking, mass murder, suicide attack, terrorism|
|Deaths||2,996 (2,977 victims + 19 hijackers)|
|Injured||More than 6,000|
|Perpetrator(s)||Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden
(see also Responsibility and Hijackers)
The September 11, 2001 attacks (or September 11th, or 9/11),[nb 1] were four terrorist attacks. They all happened at the same time. They were done by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. They attacked the United States in New York City and Washington, D.C. The attacks took place on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Four groups of terrorists, each with a trained pilot, captured airplanes and flew them into US landmarks. These landmarks were the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City, and the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed in an empty field in Pennsylvania before it could reach its target in Washington, D.C. After the event, the US government said the people who had done the attacks were close to the terrorist group al-Qaeda. During the events, almost 3000 people died. Most of them were from the United States, but over 300 were from other places, such as the United Kingdom, India, and Canada.
Airplanes involved[change | change source]
The first of the four planes to depart was American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767-200ER. It was 159 feet and two inches long, with a sixteen-foot-six-inch-wide body that allowed for two aisles. The plane made daily flights between Boston and Los Angeles, and when it took off at 7:59 a.m. on the morning of the eleventh, it carried only 81 passengers in its 158 seats. Forty-seven minutes later, it crashed into the North Tower at 440 mph, carrying 9,717 gallons of jet fuel, 14,000 gallons under capacity.
United Flight 175, also a Boeing 767-200ER, was the second. Like American Airlines 11, it was scheduled to fly between Boston and Los Angeles. When United 175 took off at 8:14 a.m., it was even lighter than the American flight: Only 56 out of 168 seats were occupied. When it crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., traveling 540 mph, it had 9,118 gallons of fuel in its tanks.
American Airlines Flight 77 was the third plane to take off that day, a Boeing 757-200. AA77 left Washington, D.C., at 8:20 a.m. bound for Los Angeles. It was two-thirds empty, with 58 passengers in its 176 seats, and its tanks were 4,000 gallons under its 11,500-gallon capacity. It crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., flying 530 mph.
The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was also a 757-200. It was delayed for 42 minutes past its scheduled 8 a.m. departure from Newark bound for San Francisco. When it finally took off, it carried only 37 passengers—its capacity was 182—and it was loaded with a little over 7,000 gallons of fuel. It crashed at 560 mph into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 a.m.
Outcome[change | change source]
All of the 246 people on the four planes died in the crashes. 19 terrorists were also killed in the attacks. Both towers of the World Trade Center caught on fire after the crashes. The South Tower (2 WTC) burned for 56 minutes before it fell and was destroyed. The North Tower (1 WTC) burned for 102 minutes before it also fell. As the towers fell, parts of the towers hit other buildings around them. It is believed that because of this damage, a third building, 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC), fell at 5:20 p.m., but this is a debated subject. Many other buildings in the area were damaged badly and had to be destroyed. 2,602 people died at the World Trade Center.
Shown on the right is Flight 175 hitting the South Tower in New York City, USA. The North Tower was already hit. Both eventually collapsed. The plane that hit the Pentagon hit the ground just as it hit the western side of the building. It then crashed through three of the five "rings" that make up the Pentagon. The crash killed 125 people in the Pentagon.
The United States government paid an average of $1.8 million to the families of the victims of the attacks.
2,996 people died in the attacks, including people such as firemen and policemen trying to save the lives of other people.
This was the first big attack by non-Americans on the United States. In 1941, when Japanese war planes attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was not yet part of the United States. There had been some big terrorist acts against American targets before but most of them have been outside the U.S. (such as the Marine camp in Lebanon).
Many conspiracy theories have appeared which say that certain people in the United States government knew about the attacks beforehand, or even made them happen.
War on Terror[change | change source]
After the attack, the United States blamed Al-Qaeda, which the U.S. thought was a terrorist group. President George W. Bush said he would start a "War on Terror". He meant that the United States would do more things to try to stop terrorism in the future. Bush said this was meant to protect Americans and their property from terrorists. For example, the American government would be reorganized. Security and control in public places was made stronger, especially at airports. Americans were told every day whether there was a serious threat of terrorism. (This was done by giving a color for the day. Red meant there was a high risk, green meant a low risk, and there were many levels in between.)
The War on Terror also led to real wars. The leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, lived in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The United States told the government of Afghanistan, called the Taliban, to turn bin Laden over to them. The Taliban would not do this. The leader of the Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Omar, demanded to see proof from the United States government. If proof was not given, Mullah Omar said that he would not hand over bin Laden. President George W. Bush said that he did not need to provide proof. The United States then went to war against Afghanistan. The Taliban was removed from power, a new government was put in power, and a new president was chosen by the people of Afghanistan.
While this was happening, the United States government changed in a few ways. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Before 9/11, security at American airports was provided by the airlines. The TSA made it the government's job to provide airport security. New officers were hired by TSA to work at airports and to fly on planes as air marshals. The TSA also provides security on American trains and subways. A new Department of Homeland Security was also created. It became their job to protect Americans and their property inside the United States. When this department was created, the TSA moved from the DOT to Homeland Security.
After defeating the Taliban, President George W. Bush thought the US should invade Iraq. He believed that Iraq helped terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda. He said he had evidence that Iraq was also making weapons of mass destruction. He sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations to show them some of the evidence. In March, 2003, the United States began its invasion of Iraq. (Four other countries also took part, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, and Denmark.) The government of Iraq was overthrown, and the people of Iraq elected a new government. No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
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Notes[change | change source]
- 9/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation. The name is frequently used in British English as well as in American English, although the dating conventions differ.
References[change | change source]
- "Bin Laden claims responsibility for 9/11". CBC News. October 29, 2004. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2004/10/29/binladen_message041029.html. Retrieved 2011-09-01. "Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared in a new message aired on an Arabic TV station Friday night, for the first time claiming direct responsibility for the 2001 attacks against the United States."
- 25 Interesting Facts About 9/11
- The Guardian: Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over