The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Islamist Terrorism, and it continues on

Union des Transports Aeriennes Flight 772 was a flight on a French airline which flew from Brazzaville, to N'Djamena, and then to Charles De Gaulle International Airport near Paris.
On 19 September, 1989, F-BTDF, the Douglas DC-10-30 on the route broke up over the Sahara Desert near the town of Bilma and the town of Ténéré, Niger when a bomb in the forward cargo hold exploded. A total of 156 passengers and 15 crew were killed, leaving no survivors.
The brother in law of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and five other Libyans were put on trial in absentia for the bombing of Flight 772.

The bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina was the deadliest terrorist attack in that country until 1994, and the deadliest on an Israeli diplomatic mission.
The motive for the attack came on February 16, 1992. Israeli gunships attacked a motorcade in southern Lebanon, killing Sheik Abbas al-Musawi, the leader of the Hezbollah terrorist group. The attack had been planned as an assassination attempt, but nevertheless it killed Musawi, his wife, son, and four others. Hezbollah vowed revenge.
Terrorists gained access to Argentina through the Tri-Border area, the area where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil meet that is easy to access. The videotaped the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and assembled their explosives. They were targeting Argentina probably because it had one of the largest Jewish populations in the world.
On March 17, 1992, they carried out their attack. A car, driven by a suicide bomber and loaded with explosives, smashed into the front of the embassy and detonated. The explosion destroyed the embassy, a Catholic church, and a nearby school building. Several Israelis died, but most of the victims were Argentine civilians, many children. The final death toll was 29 killed, and 242 wounded.
Many world leaders condemned the attack. Israel sent investigators to Argentina to search for clues. Though the attack remains unsolved, many believe Syria helped Hezbollah carry out the attack.
Hezbollah, however, did claim the attack as their work, taking responsibility under their alias "Islamic Jihad" and providing a videotape taken of the Israeli Embassy.
Two years later, the bombing of the Jewish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires again brought attention to terrorism in the Weastern Hemisphere.
In 1999, the Argentinian government issued an arrest warrant for Imad Mugniyah in connection with this attack and the 1994 AMIA Bombing.

A man named Ramzi Yousef entered the United States with a false Iraqi passport in 1992. Police found instructions on making a bomb in Yousef's partner's luggage. The name Abu Barra, which was an alias of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, appeared in the manuals.
Therefore, his partner was arrested on the spot for his false passport and his bomb-making instructions. At the time, INS holding cells were overcrowded , so the authorities told Yousef to come back in one month. Yousef set up residence in Jersey City, New Jersey and travelled around New York and New Jersey and called Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a controversial Muslim preacher, via cell phone. Yousef got the manuals back from his partner. He got conspirators and tried obtaining mixing chemicdals to make a bomb. After a hospital stay from a car accident, Yousef got back the manuals from his car, which was in a police impound.dan
El Sayyid Nosair, who was one of Sheikh Rahman's men and who would later be convicted for the bombing, was arrested in 1991 for the murder of rabbi Meir Kahane. A man named Mahmud Abouhalima, who was later convicted in the bombing, told a man named Wadih el Hage to buy the assault rifle used in the Kahane shooting. Nosair was acquitted of murder but convicted of gun charges. There were dozens of bomb-making manuals and documents related to terrorist plots found in the apartment, but they had not been translated into the English language from the Arabic language.
Yousef stole or rented a Ryder van that was to be used in the attacks. If Yousef had had more funds, he would have used a truck bomb. The van that he used had 8 m³ (295 ft³) of space, which would hold up to 1,000 kg of explosives. However, the van was not filled to capacity.
The bomb
Yousef's complex 600 kilogram bomb was made of urea pellets, nitroglycerin, sulfuric acid, aluminum azide, magnesium azide, and bottled hydrogen. He added sodium cyanide to the mix as the vapors could go through the ventilation shafts and elevators of the towers. The van that Yousef used had four 6 m (20 ft) long fuses, all covered in surgical tubing. Yousef calculated that the fuse would trigger the bomb in twelve minutes after he would use a cheap cigarette lighter to light the fuse.
He wanted to prevent smoke from escaping the towers, therefore, catching the public eye by poisoning people inside. He foresaw Tower One collapsing onto Tower Two after the blast would occur.
The attack
On February 26, 1993, a car bomb was planted by the Islamist terrorists in the underground garage below Tower One. The bomb's fuses burnt at a rate of one inch per two and one half seconds (1 cm/s). The men spent 300 United States dollars for the materials to build the bomb.
The bomb exploded in the underground garage at 12:17 P.M., opening a 30 meter wide hole through 4 sublevels of concrete. The bomb generated a pressure of more than 1 GPa. The detonation velocity of this bomb was about 4.5 km/s (15,000 ft/s). The cyanide gas that Yousef put in the bomb burnt up in the explosion.
Six people were killed. At least 1,040 others were injured. However, the towers were not destroyed as Yousef envisioned. Yousef escaped to Pakistan several hours later.
The bomb cut off the center's main electrical power line, and all telephone service for New York City. The bomb caused smoke to rise up to the 93rd floor of both towers, and cut off the towers' four stairwells and emergency lighting system.
Despite its relatively low death toll, the bombing shocked the American public. Only once before the 1993 attack that the FBI recorded had a bomb of that force had been used. The FBI has recorded a total of about 73,000 explosions.
Yousef's friends reported the van stolen in an attempt to slow investigators down.

On March 4, 1993 authorities announced the capture of one of the suspected bombing conspirators Mohammad Salameh and exactly one year later four terrorists were convicted for their roles in the bombing.
The capture of Salameh led authorities to Yousef's apartment, where they found bomb-making materials and a business card from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa.
Khalifa was arrested in relation to the crime in December 14, 1994, and was deported to Jordan by the INS in May 5, 1995. Jamal was acquitted by a Jordanian court and now lives as a free man in Saudi Arabia.
In 1995, militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of conspiracy charges to bomb several New York City landmarks (see New York City landmark bomb plot), and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of "seditious conspiracy" to bomb the towers - no one was ever convicted for the actual bombing. Another man named Eyad Ismail was tried alongside Yousef for the bombing.
Six militant Islamist conspirators were convicted of the crime in 1997 and 1998 and given prison sentences of a maximum of 240 years each. The main reason that the World Trade Center did not collapse was due to the towers' strength and the fact that Yousef did not have enough money to build a more powerful bomb.
Another conspirator in the plot was Nidal Ayyad.
A granite memorial to the six victims of the bombing was erected between the Twin Towers, directly above the site of the explosion. This granite memorial erected in memory of the first attack was obliterated during the destruction of the towers in 2001.

The New York City landmark bomb plot was a planned "sequel" to the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing that would have inflicted hundreds of American casualties on their own soil.
The plot was concocted by blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, a radical Muslim cleric in New York City, and by some of his followers. The attacks were to take place on July 4, Independence Day in the United States.
The first target was the UN Building; it was to be destroyed by a suicide bomber driving a truck bomb. Also to be destroyed by car bombs were the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel, two busy underground roadways in the city. The George Washington Bridge would be bombed next, as well as the FBI's main office in New York, New York. There was also some talk of bombing Jewish targets in the city as well as assassinating the Jewish U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
They were arrested in June 1993, a capture announced June 24, 1993. At the time they were arrested, the conspirators were mixing fertilizer and diesel fuel to create an ANFO bomb like the one used on the World Trade Center. Rahman and nine others were convicted in a public trial October 1, 1995.


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