Oklahoma City bombing-April 19,1995

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On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring 500. (Timothy McVeigh was later convicted of federal murder charges and executed.)

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A cargo truck laden with more than two tons of explosives was detonated in front of Oklahoma City’s nine-story federal building on April 19, 1995 — an act of terrorism that at the time was the worst such attack ever committed on U.S. soil. The blast killed 168 people, including 19 children, injured hundreds more and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to structures and vehicles in the downtown area.

This 19 April 1995 file photo shows the north side

Within days, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested and accused of conspiring to destroy the federal building in retribution for the government’s handling of the siege of the Branch Davidian religious group at their compound in Waco, Texas, two years earlier. McVeigh and Nichols were tried and convicted on federal charges, and Nichols was convicted of murder following a separate trial in Oklahoma. McVeigh was sentenced to death and executed and Nichols received multiple life prison sentences.

Terry Lynn Nichols (born April 1, 1955) is an American convicted of being an accomplice in the Oklahoma City bombing.

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Prior to his incarceration, he held a variety of short-term jobs, working as a farmer, grain elevator manager, real estate salesman and ranch hand.He met his future conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, during a brief stint in the U.S. Army, which ended in 1989 when he requested a hardship discharge after less than one year of service.In 1994 and 1995, he conspired with McVeigh in the planning and preparation of the Oklahoma City bombing – the truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

After a federal trial in 1997, Nichols was convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter for killing federal law enforcement personnel. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole because the jury deadlocked on the death penalty. He was also tried in Oklahoma on state charges of murder in connection with the bombing. He was convicted in 2004 of 161 counts of first degree murder, including one count of fetal homicide;first-degree arson; and conspiracy.As in the federal trial, the state jury deadlocked on imposing the death penalty. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,setting a Guinness World Record and is incarcerated at ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado.

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He shares a cell block that is commonly referred to as “Bombers Row” with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski.

Timothy James McVeigh was born in Lockport, New York, the only son and the second of three children of Mildred “Mickey” Noreen (née Hill) and William McVeigh.His Irish American parents divorced when he was ten years old, and he was raised by his father in Pendleton, New York.

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McVeigh claimed to have been a target of bullying at school, and he took refuge in a fantasy world where he imagined retaliating against the bullies. At the end of his life, he stated his belief that the United States government is the ultimate bully

He sought revenge against the federal government for its handling of the 1993 Waco siege, which ended in the deaths of 76 people exactly two years before the bombing,

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as well as for the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident. McVeigh hoped to inspire a revolt against the federal government.

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He was convicted of eleven federal offences and sentenced to death. His execution was carried out in a considerably shorter amount of time than average after his trial, as most convicts on death row in the United States spend an average of fifteen years awaiting execution. Four years after his conviction, McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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1993 World Trade Center bombing

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On February 26, 1993, terrorists parked a rental van in a garage underneath the World Trade Center’s twin towers and lit the fuses on a massive homemade bomb stuffed inside. Six people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the subsequent explosion, which carved out a crater several stories deep and propelled smoke into the upper reaches of the quarter-mile-high skyscrapers.

Completed in 1973, the World Trade Center’s twin towers loomed over lower Manhattan at 110 stories each. Although these iconic buildings, which were the tallest in the world before being overtaken by Chicago’s Sears Tower, struggled at first to attract tenants, some 50,000 office workers eventually filled them to near capacity. Tens of thousands of additional visitors came daily to check out the view from an observation deck or a 107th-floor restaurant.

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Safety concerns became apparent as early as 1975, when a disgruntled custodian set a fire in the north tower that caused millions of dollars in damages and prompted calls for the installation of a sprinkler system. A decade or so later, the government agency that owned the World Trade Center began examining possible terrorism threats. But it ended up ignoring many of its security team’s recommendations, including that public parking be eliminated or that cars at least be randomly inspected.

In September 1992 explosives expert Ramzi Ahmed Yousef arrived in New York City on a flight from Pakistan and began planning an attack on the World Trade Center, with the alleged goal of toppling the north tower into the south tower.

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He received help from followers of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind, Egyptian-born Muslim cleric who spoke in sermons of destroying the “edifices of capitalism.”

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The plotters rented a storage locker in New Jersey, where they stockpiled urea, nitric acid, sulfuric acid and other ingredients for making bombs. They simultaneously concocted a nitroglycerin trigger at a nearby apartment and scouted out the World Trade Center’s underground floors.

On February 26, 1993, the plotters loaded their homemade bomb, which weighed about 1,200 pounds, into a yellow Ford Econoline van they had rented from a Ryder dealership in New Jersey.

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Two of them then drove it across the Hudson River into Manhattan, made their way south to the World Trade Center, entered the basement parking garage between the north tower and a hotel, parked in an illegal spot on a ramp, lit four 20-foot fuses, got into a car that had trailed them and sped off.

At 12:17 p.m. the bomb exploded, knocking out the World Trade Center’s sprinklers, generators, elevators, public address system, emergency command center and more than half of the high-voltage lines that fed electricity to the complex. The FBI later called it the “largest by weight and by damage of any improvised explosive device that we’ve seen since the inception of forensic explosive identification.” Six people died, including a pregnant woman. More than 1,000 others were injured, mostly from smoke that snaked its way up the stairwells and elevator shafts. Yet both towers remained standing.

As rescue workers dug for victims, survivors began making their way out by any means possible. A woman in a wheelchair was carried down 66 flights of stairs by two friends. A class of singing kindergartners descended from the 107th floor. A group of engineers stuck in an elevator pried open the doors and then used car keys to cut a hole in the sheetrock walls leading out to a 58th-floor women’s bathroom. Nearly 30 people with medical conditions were taken to the roof and whisked away by police helicopter. By late that night, the buildings had been completely cleared. They would not reopen for nearly a month.

Investigators sifting through the rubble soon came across the vehicle identification number for the rental van, which had been reported stolen the day before the attack. FBI agents then arrested Mohammad Salameh, who had rented the van under his own name, when he returned to the Ryder dealership to ask for his $400 deposit back.

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Subsequent arrests were made of Ahmad Ajaj, Nidal Ayyad and Mahmoud Abouhalima. In March 1994 a federal jury convicted the four of them for their role in the bombing, and they were each sentenced to life behind bars.

Meanwhile, authorities uncovered a related plot in which followers of Sheikh Abdel Rahman planned to blow up the George Washington Bridge, the United Nations headquarters and other New York City landmarks. In that case, the sheikh and nine co-defendants were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other terrorism-related charges. A third case led to life sentences for Yousef, who was captured in Pakistan in 1995, and the driver of the rental van, who was captured in Jordan that same year. Only one suspect, who fled to Iraq after being questioned and released by the FBI, remains at large.

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing, the buildings’ owner repaired the damage, upgraded elevators and electrical systems, put battery-operated emergency lights and luminescent paint in the stairwells, and set up emergency command centers. By 2000 the complex had reached its highest occupancy rate of all time. But terrorism struck again on September 11, 2001, when militants associated with the Islamic extremist group Al Qaeda flew hijacked planes into the towers, killing nearly 3,000 people. More than 11 years later, reconstruction at the site, which includes a 9/11 memorial and the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, is nearing completion.

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