On This Day, Feb. 26, 1993 – 1,000 Injured as Bomb Rocks World Trade Center
1993 – Six people were killed and more than a thousand injured when a van exploded in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City.
The World Trade Center bombing plot began in the months before September 1, 1992, when two of the main conspirators, Ahmad Ajaj and Ramzi Yousef, arrived in the United States from Pakistan. Upon detecting his poorly falsified Swedish passport, customs agents detained Ajaj and confiscated his suitcase, which contained bombing manuals and anti-American propaganda. Yousef, traveling on an Iraqi passport bearing the name Abdel Basit Mahmoud, requested political asylum. He was arrested for entering the United States without a visa but was released on his own recognizance and allowed into the country. While Ajaj waited in jail, Yousef allegedly began to implement a plan that aimed at toppling the twin towers of the World Trade Center. On October 1 he moved into a rented room in the Little Egypt section of Jersey City, New Jersey, with another conspirator, Mohammad Salameh.
The plotters purchased bomb-making materials and stored them in a locker rented by Salameh. On January 1, 1993, Salameh also rented a garage apartment in Jersey City for use as a bomb factory. Over the next several weeks, the group assembled a 1,500-pound (680-kilogram) bomb, and Salameh went on scouting missions to the World Trade Center.
On February 23, 1993, Salameh rented a van, which he reported stolen two days later in order to establish an alibi. The men purchased several tanks of hydrogen gas and loaded them into the bomb-laden van to magnify the power of the explosion. In the early morning hours of February 26, Mahmud Abouhalima, another conspirator, filled the gas tanks of his car and the rented van.
The van was left in a parking garage in the World Trade Center complex. At 12:18 pm the explosives detonated, opening a blast crater six stories deep and 200 feet wide. Within hours Salameh went to the rental agency to claim his deposit for the “stolen” van; he was told to return later.
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1848 – The second French Republic was proclaimed.
1863 – President Abe Lincoln signed the National Currency Act.
1870 – In New York City, the first pneumatic-powered subway line was opened to the public.
1881 – S.S. Ceylon began his world-wide cruise, beginning in Liverpool, England.
1907 – Members of Congress raised their own pay to $7500.
1916 – Mutual signed Charlie Chaplin to a film contract.
1919 – In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park by an act of the U.S. Congress.
1929 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Grand Teton National Park.
1930 – New York City installed traffic lights.
1933 – A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Crissy Field for the Golden Gate Bridge.
1945 – In the U.S., a nationwide midnight curfew went into effect.
1952 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed an atomic bomb.
1977 – The Eagles’ “Hotel California” was released.
1986 – Corazon Aquino was inaugurated president of the Philippines. Long-time President Ferdinand Marcos went into exile.
1987 – The Tower Commission rebuked President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair.a
1987 – The U.S.S.R. conducted its first nuclear weapons test after a 19-month moratorium period.
1991 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced on Baghdad Radio that Iraqi troops were being withdrawn from Kuwait.
1998 – A Texas jury rejected an $11 million lawsuit by Texas cattlemen who blamed Oprah Winfrey for price drop after on-air comment about mad-cow disease.
1998 – In Oregon, a health panel rules that taxpayers must help to pay for doctor-assisted suicides.
2009 – The Pentagon reversed its 18-year policy of not allowing media to cover returning war dead. The reversal allowed some media coverage with family approval.
Source: Britanica.com; On-This-Day.com