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20 years of September 11 attacks: Photo timeline of 9/11 – World News

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Twenty years ago, the US witnessed one of the most horrifying attacks involving the hijacking of four American commercial planes by 19 al-Qaida terrorists on September 11. The 9/11 attacks, as it is often referred to, on the United States left nearly 3,000 people from several nations dead. The plane hijackings by al-Qaida on September 11, 2001 were the first foreign attack on the US soil in nearly two centuries which shook the world completely. It was a morning of horror for Americans, snatching away loved ones for thousands and leaving scars for life. There was widespread fear as well as anger after the attacks on the iconic World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Days after the coordinated terror attacks on the United States, then US President George W Bush declared a ‘War on Terror’ followed by US war in Afghanistan.

Here is what happened on the fateful morning of September 11, 2001 and how the attacks unfolded:
WHAT HAPPENED ON 9/11
Different teams of hijackers (terrorists associated with al-Qaida) crashed four American airliners on the way to California from the northeast. Five hijackers crashed the first plane – American Airlines Flight 11 – into the World Trade Centre’s North Tower at 8:46am in Lower Manhattan. Soon after, the South Tower was hit by hijacked United Airlines Flight 175. Passengers on board both the planes were killed, along with those present in the towers and surrounding areas. A third plane ‘American Airlines Flight 77’, hijacked by five other terrorists, destroyed the west wall of the Pentagon. The fourth and the final flight ‘United Airlines Flight 93’ crashed in Pennsylvania after the heroic passengers fought with the four hijackers.
HOW THE ATTACKS UNFOLDED

THE FOUR CRASH SITES

The first crash
American Airlines Flight 11 (Boeing 767-223ER) departed Boston’s Logan Airport bound for Los Angeles at 7:59am with 92 onboard – 76 passengers, 11 crew members and 5 hijackers. One of the crew members alerted The American Airlines ground personnel of a hijacking under way while reporting that the cockpit was not reachable. Shortly before, one of the hijackers had stabbed a passenger who was seated in front of him. At 8:46am, the hijackers crashed Flight 11 into floors 93 through 99 of 1 World Trade Center (North Tower).

Flames erupting from the north tower of the World Trade Center after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into it. (AFP photo)

Photo shows the point of impact where a plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. (Reuters photo)

The remaining tower of New York’s World Trade Center, Tower 1, burning about a half hour after Tower 2 collapsed. (Reuters photo)

Second target
United Airlines Flight 175 (Boeing 767-222) took off from Logan International Airport at 8:14am with 65 people onboard (including five hijackers) and was headed to Los Angeles. Exactly at 9:03am, the hijackers crashed Flight 175 into floors 77 through 85 of 2 World Trade Center (South Tower) in New York City, killing the 51 passengers and nine crew members. Shortly after, some workers in the building jump or fall to their deaths.

The second tower of the World Trade Center bursting into flames after being hit by hijacked United Airlines 175 in New York. (Reuters photo)

A group of firefighters walking amid rubble near the base of the destroyed South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. (Reuters photo)

World Trade Center Tower two turns into a mushroom cloud as it falls to the ground. (Reuters photo)

Third attack
American Airlines Flight 77 (Boeing 757-223), also en route to Los Angeles, departed from Washington Dulles International Airport at 8:20am with 64 onboard – crew of six, 53 passengers and 5 hijackers. A flight attendant called American Airlines to inform that hijackers seized control of the plane. At 9:37am, the hijackers crash Flight 77 into the western facade of the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Emergency vehicles standing before a damaged wall of the Pentagon following the attack (AFP photo)

A rescue helicopter surveying damage to the Pentagon as firefighters battle flames after hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the US military headquarters. (Reuters photo)

Damaged area of the Pentagon building, where the hijacked commercial jetliner slammed into it September 11, is seen with the US Capitol Building in the background (Reuters photo)

Fourth crash
United Airlines Flight 93 (Boeing 757-222) left Newark International Airport for San Francisco with 33 passengers, a crew of seven and four hijackers at 8:42am. One of the passengers used his cell phone to dial 911 after closing himself in a restroom to avoid detection. The flight was flying so low around 9:58am that he succeeded in reaching an emergency operator in nearby Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. At 10.03am, the hijackers were forced to crash Flight 93 in a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after brave passengers and crew members fought back and stormed the cockpit.

A large group of investigators combing the debris field for the fight data recorders from United Airlines flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania (Reuters photo)

Investigators heading into the debris field at the site where of United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania (Reuters photo)

THE ATTACKERS
Nineteen terrorists linked to al-Qaida, founded by Osama bin Laden, carried out the coordinated attacks by hijacking the four commercial airliners on September 11, 2001. While 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, two belonged to the United Arab Emirates and one each were from Lebanon and Egypt.

New York police stand near a wanted poster printed on a full page of a New York newspaper for Osama bin Laden after the attacks. (Reuters photo)

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as the ‘mastermind’ behind the 9/11 attacks on the US, was arrested on March 1, 2003 in Rawalpindi by Pakistani security officials working with the CIA. Currently in a cell in a high-security camp on the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding 183 times, sleep deprivation and other harsh techniques. In September 2006, he confessed his responsibility for the attacks. “I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z,” he had said. He is yet to be tried and convicted for the heinous crime.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan on March 1, 2003. (AP file photo)





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