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The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building, on September 11, 2001, in New York. Image: AP file photo

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

September 2021 marks 20 years of the 9/11 terrorist attack on USA by extremist group al-Qaeda. In August this year, families of the attack victims released a joint statement saying they won’t allow President Biden at any memorial events unless he declassified official documents about the incident. Classified files are secret documents inaccessible to public and 9/11 has many such files. The FBI released a one such document recently. The 16 page document provides a summary of an FBI interview in 2015 with a man who was in touch with terrorists and helped them come to USA.  

What happened on 9/11? 
On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes. Then they aimed and crashed these airplanes in the USA in a suicide attack. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City, the third plane hit the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, just outside US capital Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. An estimated 3,000 people were killed in one day.  

How did the attacks happen on 9/11?  
On September 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m., an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the 80th floor of World Trade Centre, a 110-story skyscraper, killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. People thought it was a horrific accident. But 18 minutes later, a second Boeing 767 rammed into the 60th floor of the second tower. As millions of people watched this on TV in helpless horror, another Jet crashed into the Pentagon. By then, everyone knew it was an attack and no accident. The fourth plane was delayed in taking off, and it was hijacked 40 minutes after the other two. As a result, passengers in it came to know of the 3 attacks on mobile phone. They realised they were about to die and rose in rebellion against the hijackers. We will never know where this plane was aimed. In the fight between passengers, staff and terrorists, the plane flipped over and crashed, killing the brave passengers in it.  

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