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The terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001 were carried out by al-Qaida, an extremist group of Islamic terrorists originating from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations led by Osama bin Laden.  It all started when bin Laden teamed up with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the radical Egyptian group al-Jihad al-Islami, who preferred terrorism and violence as his method to pursue this worldwide crusade.

  Bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in 1996 and created training camps for recruits from all over the world for his new organization, al-Qaida.  It was largely based on religion and was one of many islamic rebel groups.  Their extreme interpretations of the Koran (Muslim holy book) greatly differed from the majority.  Al-Qaida had two overarching goals; one was to eliminate the influence of Western culture in Muslim countries, and the other was to create fundamentalist Islamic regimes – governments that rule by literal interpretation of the Muslim sacred texts (the Hadith and the Koran) and enforce sharia (Islamic law).  Their issue with the United States dated back to 1991 during the Persian Gulf War in Iraq, when the U.S established military bases in Saudi Arabia.

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 Bin Laden viewed this as an intrusion of the holy land of Islam, and therefore declared the United States as an enemy and ordered Muslims to eliminate members of the American military and even U.S civilians.Nineteen members of al-Qaida hijacked four commercial airplanes and carried out suicide attacks targeted at the United States.  Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the third plane flew into the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.

C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.  At 8:45 a.m. an American Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

The 9/11 attacks called for immediate reform and resulted in many changes being made that reshaped our way of life in the United States.  The devastation and fear resulting from this tragic event forced the U.S to take action to ensure the safety of our country.  The most immediate and drastic changes were in U.S airports.  Two months after the attacks, Congress passed the Aviation and Security Act, which established the new TSA (Transportation Security Administration).

 It consisted of procedures with stricter rules on passenger and luggage screening.  Under these new guidelines, bags were now scanned for weapons and dangerous items, only ticketed passengers could go through security, people were forced to remove their shoes, and liquids were banned.  Safety precautions were implemented in airplanes themselves: fortified cockpits were introduced, and pilots could now apply to become a federal flight deck officer


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