September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center

September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center
   Often referred to as the events of 9/11. The attacks comprised a series of coordinated suicide terrorist assaults upon the United States (US), carried out on Tuesday, 11 September 2001. That morning, terrorists associated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial aeroplanes. Operating in teams which each included a trained pilot, the 19 hijackers then launched 4 attacks. Two planes crashed into the Trade Center in New York, one targeting each of its Twin Towers. A third flew into the Pentagon (in Virginia), whilst the fourth crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania. None of the 246 people on board the hijacked planes survived and in all almost 3,000 were killed or presumed dead.
   Within the US, opinion quickly rallied to the President in the face of external aggression, enabling the easy passage of emergency legislation and the introduction of a policy of rescue, recovery and compensation. Abroad, there was a wave of sympathy for the American people from governments and media outlets worldwide. Within a month, a ‘coalition of the willing’ had been assembled, resulting in troops entering Afghanistan, the first step in the war on terror. Their brief was to hunt al-Qaeda terrorists and their leader Osama bin Laden and to topple the Taliban regime that had harboured them.
   The axis of Tony Blair and George Bush that has so shaped world events in the last few years was cemented by the attacks. The Prime Minister was seen as a dependable ally and articulate salesman for US/United Kingdom policy. From the start he believed in a forceful response to world terrorism and as a ‘progressive’ of the centre-left he was able to reach out to peoples in parts of the world that the President could not. The repercussions of 9/11 are to be found in the drive for further and stricter anti-terrorist legislation, a global view that tends to link terrorism in one country with terrorism elsewhere and in Britain and the United States sporadic signs of Islamophobia.

Glossary of UK Government and Politics . 2013.

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