Ramzi Yousef

Ramzi Yousef is one of the main perpetrator in the 1993 bombings of The World Trade Center, in New York. He along with his Jordanian friend used 1,500 lb (680 kg) urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device to knock off the two towers of the WTC. Although the bomb failed to damage the towers, the deadly attack took 6 innocent lives. A 7 month pregnant woman lost her life in the attack.

The Background

Ramzi Yousef was born in 27th April 1968. His place of birth is debated, whether he was born in UAE or Kuwait, but he holds a Pakistani citizenship. His real name is Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim and he used “Ramzi Yousef” as his alias. Yousef’s parents belonged to Pakistan and his mother is believed to be the sister of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who is the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks. Yousef was educated in Swansea Institute in United Kingdom where he studied electrical engineering. He returned to Pakistan and began to learn bomb making in a terrorist training camp in Peshawar. He entered USA in the year 1992.

The Attack

The attack took place on February 26, 1993 at 12:17:37 p.m. Ramzi Yousef and his accomplice drove a yellow rider into the basement of the trade center. Their intention was to crash the North Tower (Tower 1) into the South Tower (Tower 2), bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people. The bomb exploded with a estimated pressure of 150,000 psi and the velocity of the bomb was calculated to about 15,000 ft/s (4.5 km/s). Six people were killed and 1,042 people were injured in the bombing. Ramzi Yousef escaped USA hours after the attack, using his Pakistani passport. It was believed that he might have fled to Iraq or Pakistan.

The Aftermath

Post investigation, Yousef was named one of the main accused and the FBI added him as the 436th person on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on 21 April 1993. After his escape to Pakistan later, he tried to assassinate the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. His plan failed and he went into hiding again. Yousef planted a bomb in Philippine Airlines Flight 434 to conduct a trial. His main aim was to kill Pope John Paul II by planting bombs inside several United and Delta Air Lines flights out of Bangkok. Pope was visiting Philippines during that period.
Yousef even plotted to bomb a U.S. airliner in the year 1995, but the plan failed by a whisker.

The Arrest and prison life

On 7 February 1995 Yousef was arrested in the Su-Casa Guest House in Islamabad, Pakistan. He was about to leave Islamabad and make his way into Peshawar, before his arrest. His former accomplice tipped off the Special Agents of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service about his location and was rewarded 2 million US dollars. Yousef was extradited to USA immediately after his arrest and was put on trial in the same year. He was convicted in the plot to kill the Pope, Philippine Airlines Flight 434 and the bombings of World Trade Center. He is incarcerated at ADX Florence, Colorado with a sentence of life imprisonment with no possibility of parole plus 240 years.

Image credit to NY Daily News

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