September 11, 2001

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references


  • Chronology of September 11, 2001
  • The figures

The attacks of September 11, 2001 were a series of coordinated terrorist suicide attacks against the United States of America that took place on September 11, 2001. The terrorist group al Qaeda is considered the instigator of the hijackers who crashed the planes on the World Trade Center of New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

These were the first large-scale attacks by an outside power to be successfully conducted on the continental United States since 1814, during the Anglo-American War of 1812. With nearly 3.000 death tolls, the attacks outnumbered of victims of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 which caused approximately 2.400 deaths.

The primary targets of the 11/XNUMX attacks were civilian and financial targets with high symbolic value, and - according to official versions - no conventional military means were used to carry them out. The attacks involved the hijacking of four airliners.

The 24.000 gallons (about 91.000 liters) of fuel in the aircraft tanks turned them into incendiary missiles. Two of these were collided with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and the third was dropped on the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, in Arlington, Virginia.

The last plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field near the city of Shanksville. It is assumed, although it has never been proven, that the hijackers wanted it to fall on the Capitol or the White House. The black box recordings seem to have highlighted the attempted revolt of the passengers.

There are still some doubts about the crash, the various versions speak of a voluntary shooting down by military aircraft (to avoid further crashes), or a revolt of the passengers, or the decision of the bombers to commit suicide after considering the difficulty of keep order on board.

In addition to the loss of nearly 3.000 human lives, several buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, including the World Trade Center Twin Towers which collapsed as a result of the impact, involving five neighboring buildings and five subway stations in the destruction. The area, which took a very long time to completely clear out, was renamed Ground Zero. Part of the Pentagon was also damaged and collapsed.

Within hours, the US government, in the person of GW Bush, blamed the attacks on al Qaeda, an Islamic fundamentalist group responsible for many other terrorist acts. These facts led to the so-called war on terrorism with the invasion of Afghanistan by the US military in October 2001 and the overthrow of the Taliban government.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein by Anglo-American forces in XNUMX was also ascribed by the United States to this war on terror (called a preemptive war), although the opportunity for this choice had been, and is still very controversial.

Chronology of September 11, 2001

(Expressed with respect to the New York time zone)

  • Hours 8.48American Airlines Flight 11 hits the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York in full blast.
  • Hours 9.03United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower as the cameras frame the fire developing on the first tower.
  • Hours 9.17: Authorities order immediate closure of all New York area airports.
  • Hours 9.40: US President George W. Bush, on a visit to Sarasota, Florida, declares that it is apparently a terrorist attack. Bush orders a full investigation to hunt down the terrorists and find them.
  • Hours 9.43: American Airlines 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
  • Hours 10.00: The Federal American Aviation (FAA), the American civil aviation authority, orders the cancellation of all civil flights in the United States: it is the first time this has happened in the history of the United States.
  • Hours 10.05: The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses in on itself.
  • Hours 10.10: A wing of the pentagon collapses.
  • Hours 10.10: United Airlines 93 crashes to the ground in Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh.
  • Hours 10.13: The United Nations building in New York is evacuated, for a total of seven thousand people.
  • Hours 10.28: The North Tower of the World Trade Center also collapses.
  • Hours 10.38: The news, later denied, of the explosion of a car bomb at the State Department in Washington spreads.
  • Hours 10.50: The American airline United Airlines announces that one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center belongs to its fleet: it is a Boeing 767.
  • Hours 11.18: American Airlines announces the loss of two of its planes: American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 en route from Boston to Los Angeles with 81 passengers and 17 crew members, and American Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington in Los Angeles, with 58 passengers and 6 crew members.
  • Hours 11.59: United Airlines announces that its second flight, en route from Boston to Los Angeles with 56 passengers and 9 crew members on board, has crashed.
  • Hours 13.18: President Bush lands in Louisiana after deciding not to return to Washington from Florida.
  • Hours 16.59: According to American sources, the deaths in the attacks were twenty thousand.
  • Hours 17.45: The attack on the Pentagon would have made a hundred victims including dead and wounded.
  • Hours 18.07: Rockets fall on Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, which is home to Osama bin Laden, the number one suspect in the attacks. Pentagon sources deny it is American retaliation. This is an attack by the Northern Alliance against the Taliban.

The figures

Four planes were hijacked: two Boeing 4s crash into the World Trade Center, two Boeing 767s crash into the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

The attack causes 2749 deaths on the Twin Towers, 184 deaths in the Pentagon, 40 deaths in Pennsylvania for a total of 2973 deaths; 19 terrorists are to be added. In addition to these official victims there are 1161 people, including those missing and unidentified bodies.

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