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NEW YORK 26 Feb 2013 First attack on World Trade Center 20 years ago
On 26 Feb 1993, an explosion under the World Trade Center announced that foreign terrorism had arrived in the United States. The ep

February 26, 2013 - NULL

NEW YORK 26 Feb 2013 First attack on World Trade Center 20 years ago
On 26 Feb 1993, an explosion under the World Trade Center announced that foreign terrorism had arrived in the United States. The epicenter was a parking garage under the WTC, a complex of buildings around a central plaza in the city. The deadly explosion turned out to be a rehearsal of a kind for the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attack, which made history as the deadliest in American history. Eclipsed by 9/11, the 1993 explosion is almost forgotten. The clamoring in Egypt for the release from

NEW YORK 26 Feb 2013 First attack on World Trade Center 20 years ago
On 26 Feb 1993, an explosion under the World Trade Center announced that foreign terrorism had arrived in the United States. The epicenter was a parking garage under the WTC, a complex of buildings around a central plaza in the city. The deadly explosion turned out to be a rehearsal of a kind for the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attack, which made history as the deadliest in American history. Eclipsed by 9/11, the 1993 explosion is almost forgotten. The clamoring in Egypt for the release from a US prison of Sheik Abdel-Rahman -- the "blind sheik" -- brings the attack sharply into view again ahead of the anniversary, which promises to turn up the volume on the clamoring.
The sheikh was convicted in 1995 for his role in planning the bombing and is serving a life sentence at a federal penitentiary. He was a leader in the Egyptian militant group Al Gama'a al Islamiyya, which was accused of masterminding the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Four others were caught, convicted and sentenced to life for the WTC bombing.

The WTC is suddenly back on the radar. Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, pledged in May and again in June that he would work for the release of the sheikh. The Wall Street Journal notes that taking up the sheikh's cause reflects an attempt to burnish his revolutionary credentials, in contrast to ousted president Hosni Mubarak, who did nothing to seek the sheik's release. The newspaper notes that the sheikh's detention has become a cause célèbre among hard-line Salafi Islamists whom Morsi counted on in his runoff against ex-regime loyalist Ahmed Shafiq.

Morsi has virtually no hope of succeeding in obtaining the sheikh's release, or the release of any of the other individuals convicted in relation to the 1993 attack, but the demonstrations for his release formed an almost unnoticed backdrop to the Egyptian uprising.

Until the 2001 attack, the WTC was notable for its huge twin towers, each of which had 110 stories. They formed a distinctive feature of the New York skyline.

The epicenter of the 1993 explosion was the parking garage beneath the WTC. It ripped through three floors of concrete, killing six people instantly and creating a 100-foot crater. More than a thousand people were hurt in some way, some badly, with crushed limbs. (WRITTEN JUL 2012)

RELATED READING:

First Strike: Global Terror in America (FBI 26 Feb 2008)
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2008/february/tradebom_022608/

1993: World Trade Center bomb terrorises New York (BBC 26 Feb 1993)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/26/newsid_2516000/2516469.stm

Just Off Tahrir Square, Protesters Demand Release of Blind Sheik Jailed in U.S. (NYT 29 Jun 2012)
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/just-off-tahrir-protesters-demand-release-of-blind-sheikh-jailed-in-u-s/

Morsi Promises to Free 'Blind Sheik' from U.S. Prison (WSJ 29 Jun 2012)
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303561504577497053026356034.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Date written/update: 2013-02-26