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Ramzi Yousef

Ramzi Yousef

Abdul Basit Karim

Who is Ramzi Yousef?
Ramzi Yousef is the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He also plotted to bomb U.S. airliners in January 1995.

In 1993, before the bombing, Yousef lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, with fellow bomber Mohamed Salameh, one of the first four men convicted in the WTC attack and sentenced to life in prison.

According to the presiding judge in his 1998 trial, the bombing of New York's World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 was meant to topple the city's tallest tower onto its twin, amid a cloud of cyanide gas. Had the attack gone as planned, tens of thousands of Americans would have died. Instead, as we know, one tower did not fall on the other, and, rather than vaporizing, the cyanide gas burnt up in the heat of the explosion. "Only" six people died.

In January 1995, Yousef and his associates plotted to blow up eleven U.S. commercial aircraft in one spectacular day of terrorist rage. The bombs were to be made of a liquid explosive designed to pass through airport metal detectors. But while mixing his chemical brew in a Manila

apartment, Yousef started a fire. He was forced to flee, leaving behind a computer that contained the information that led to his arrest a month later in Pakistan. Among the items found in his possession was a letter threatening Filipino interests if a comrade held in custody were not released. It claimed the "ability to make and use chemicals and poisonous gas... for use against vital institutions and residential populations and the sources of drinking water."

Quick Facts
• Yousef lived for a time in a Pakistani boarding house run by Saudi exile Osama bin Laden. Although in an interview in 1997 bin Laden said he did not know Yousef personally.

Yousef fled the country the night of the attack and made it onto the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, with a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Law enforcement authorities apprehended him after receiving a tip from an informant.

Ramzi Yousef's plots were the most ambitious terrorist conspiracies ever attempted against the United States.

Arrest and conviction
Pakistani police arrested Yousef a month later, on February 7, 1995, in an Islamabad hotel room. Authorities also arrested Shah in Malaysia, based on his photo agents found scanned into Yousef's laptop. He later admitted providing money and fake passports to Yousef and Murad but denied knowing about bomb plots.

Yousef and Murad were high school friends who grew up in a village in Kuwait, and later lived together in Pakistan and the Philippines.

Prosecutors depicted Yousef as the leader of the cell that carried out the February 26, 1993, World Trade Center truck bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 -- at the time, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Yousef's fingerprints turned up on bomb-making manuals and storage lockers used by the trade center bombers. He was believed to have bought the chemicals used to construct the 1,500-pound bomb placed inside a rented Ryder truck and detonated after the vehicle was driven into one tower's parking garage.

U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Duffy sentenced Yousef to life in prison on January 8, 1998, for the trade center bombings; Murad was sentenced to life on May 16, 1998.

Yousef is incarcerated at the federal "supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, where Yousef has been cooperating with the government and has yet to be sentenced. He recently was housed close to prosecutors at a facility in lower Manhattan, New York.

Terrorist Organisations
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
* al-Qa'ida (Al-Qaeda)
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Aum Shinrikyo
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)
Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
* Hizballah
Japanese Red Army (JRA)
Kach and Kahane Chai
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November)
Revolutionary People's Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C)
Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)
Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)
Usama Bin Laden
Ramzi Yousef
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