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Al Qaeda - Timeline of Attacks

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Part II: Timeline of Attacks (Bryan Fournier)

The terrorist network Al-Qaeda has been waging a nearly twenty year campaign of attacks against the United States and western interests. The first official terrorist attack carried out by Al-Qaeda operatives occurred on December 29, 1992 in Aden, Yemen (Kean, et al, p. 59). That evening, a bomb went off at a hotel where U.S. troops had been staying while en-route to Somalia. Fortunately, the troops had already left the hotel when it was attacked. Having failed at the first attempt, the terrorists attacked a second hotel where they believed additional troops were staying. The bomb they were carrying detonated prematurely in the hotel parking lot killing two Australian tourists. Osama bin Laden Later claimed responsibility for the attack.

On February 26, 1993 there was a bombing at the World Trade Center in New York City. The mastermind of this attack, Ramzi Yousef, parked a rented van in the underground parking garage beneath North Tower of the World Trade Center. The van was filled with 1500 pounds of explosives (Kean, et al, p. 71). Yousef ignited the 20' fuse, and fled. After 12 minutes the bomb detonated in the underground garage, generating an estimated pressure of 150,000 psi. The explosion killed seven and injured 1,042 people. This attack, although not carried out by Al-Qaeda members at the time, was financed by Osama bin Laden via 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mohammed was the uncle of Ramzi Yousef. Because the attack was not successful in bringing down the towers, Mohammed set off on a plan of his own to get the job done which resulted in the 9/11 attacks.

On August 7, 1998 a series of simultaneous truck bomb explosions occurred at the United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The attacks killed 212 and injured approximately 4,000 people in Nairobi, while killing 11 and injuring 85 in Dar es Salaam (Kean, et al, p. 108). The date of the attack was also symbolic. August 7th was the eighth anniversary of the arrival of American troops in Saudi Arabia, clearly a deliberate choice for Osama bin Laden. Although the attack was aimed at American facilities and United States citizens, the vast majority of casualties were local citizens; 12 Americans were killed. In response to this attack President Bill Clinton ordered a series of cruise missile attacks on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan on August 20, 1998.

In the next major terrorist attack against the United States, Al-Qaeda used a new tactic; the suicide bombing. As the USS Cole was refueling off the coast of Yemen, a 35-foot boat laden with over 400 pounds of the high explosives RDX and TNT pulled up next to the destroyer on the port side. The two suicide bombers on the craft waved to some of the ship's crew who were topside. As the crew waved back, the two men set off the bomb causing a massive explosion. The blast ripped a 32-foot by 36-foot hole in the hull and caused extensive internal damage (Kean, et al, p. 190). Ironically, the ship's own rules of engagement prevented them from firing on the craft without obtaining permission from the Cole's captain or other officer. There was also the rule of not firing upon another vessel unless fired upon first. These rules prevented any defensive action from taking place in this incident. It was clear the United States was not anticipating or prepared for this kind of suicide bombing.

The next attack for Al-Qaeda was going to be "The Big One". This time Al-Qaeda terrorists would not simply attack U.S. embassies and troops on foreign soil, they would bring the battle to United States homeland and strike us with a suicide attack of unprecedented proportions. This one would simply be called "9/11" and would change the United States, and the world, forever.

The 9/11 plot, formulated by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with the blessing of Osama bin Laden, was simply given the name "planes operation" by

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