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View Historical Context

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Antipathy toward the United States among Middle Eastern extremists was well known throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Various incidents offered warnings: New York's World Trade Center was targeted by a car bomb that was meant to topple the taller of its twin towers on February 26, 1993. An Algerian man was caught trying to cross the border from Canada with explosives in December 1999, with the plan to destroy the Los Angeles International Airport during the millennial New Year's Eve observance. A boat carrying operatives from the al Qaeda terrorist organization exploded alongside the navy ship USS Cole in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, on October 12, 2000. Despite these incidents, Americans paid little attention to the threat posed by terrorism until after the morning of September 11, 2001. That day, members of al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes simultaneously. One was flown into the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.; two were...

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