1993 WTC & 2013 Boston Marathon: Pre & Post 9/11 Terror Events - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1739 Words
Date:  2023-02-09


Two significant domestic terrorist events occurred before and after 9/11. The two terrorist activities occurred in the eastern part of the United States. There was the 1993 bombing of World Trade Center in New York City and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 in Boston. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was undertaken through a vehicle-borne improvised bombing device that detonated below the North Tower. The terrorists intended to crash the North Tower which would then destroy the South Tower (Hays, 2018). In that case, they intended to bring them both down. The terrorist attack did not accomplish its motive but in the end, six individuals died while over thousand were wounded in the process. The Boston Marathon Bombing occurred on 15th April 2013 when two bombs ignited near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This extremist attack led to the death of three individuals while more than 260 were injured (Hitchings, 2014).

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The time gap between the attacks makes them an ideal case for comparison to evaluate the evolution actions over time. Both terrorist attacks have different perspectives, and by gauging both sides, there are many things to learn. Even though there are similarities between the events, a lot can change in twenty years; from technological advances in terrorist tactics to bomb-making and countermeasures against both. Ultimately, the process and execution of the attacks and the defense tactics against them have gone through several changes that are worth dissecting. In the 1990s, terrorist groups used terror attacks as a means to draw attention to themselves. Terrorists used to kill people, mostly a dozen, to ensure there was coverage of the press. The modern terrorist has state sponsors who use sophisticated technologies to carry out attacks.

Pre-9/11 Terrorist Event

The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City is one of the extremist attacks that occurred before the 9/11 attack. A group of Islamic terrorists drove a hired van into the underground parking garage at the World Trade Center and detonated a 1,200 bomb in an unsuccessful effort to collapse the twin towers. The explosion did not cause the level of destruction that the terrorists anticipated. However, the blast created a huge crater in the building, several stories deep. The hole resulted in the collapse of the PATH station ceiling. The terrorist attack led to the death of six individuals and injured over 1,000 people. In addition, about 50,000 people were saved from the attack site. Some of the people injured included 88 firefighters, 35 law enforcement officers, and an emergency health services employee (Greenspan, 2018).

The terrorists involved in this bombing had a Middle Eastern Origin. Seven men were identified as suspects. Ramzi Yousef is believed to have directed the attack plan and effecting of the bombing. After interrogation, Ramzi said that he wanted to revenge the miseries of Palestinian citizens due to the United States support to the Israeli government. The towers were moderately full when the terrorist attack occurred since it was during the winter season. The blast damaged the electrical power to the hotel and crucial areas within the North and South towers, disturbing the operation of elevators, ventilation structures, emergency communication and lighting (CNN, 2019). The explosion also damaged the emergency power generators. One thing to note is that the attack method was not sophisticated. The terrorist used a truck to bomb the World Trade Center.

Post-9/11 Terrorist Event

The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing in Boston is one of the terrorist attacks that occurred after the 9/11. The attack occurred during the Boston Marathon, a short distance from the finish line. A pair of home-made bombs exploded on the spectators watching the race. The attack sent a cloud of smoke over the street and stained the footways with blood. The terrorist attack resulted in the deaths of three people and more than 260 injuries. There were more than 5,600 participants in the race making the terrorists believe that they could cause immense damage. They used two pressure-cooker bombs filled with shrapnel and concealed them among the crowd of marathon watchers (Gabbatt & Lovering, 2013). The bombs exploded within seconds of each other long Boylston Street. The explosion instantly changed the sun-filled afternoon into a horrible scene of bloodshed, chaos, and destruction. Images displayed the region along Boylston Street concealed with wounded individuals, with emergency workers and security guards working tirelessly to provide first aid. Among the injured, 16 individuals lost their legs with the youngest casualty being girl aged seven years (Gabbatt & Lovering, 2013).

The shells used gun dust as the explosive and were filled with ball bearings and other shrapnel to maximize injuries. On 18th April, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released photographs and video of two men believed to be suspects in the bombing. FBI also provided an image that showed one of the men placing a package at the site of the second blast. After an intense manhunt, law enforcement officers captured one of the terrorists, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. His older brother died during a shooting incident with the police officers (Hitchings, 2014). The law enforcement officers concluded that the two brothers planned and undertook the attack and had no links with any terrorist group.

Terrorist Events Comparison

The two terrorist bombings had some similarities and differences in the way they were carried out. In the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the suspects were motivated by revenge. They believed that the United States was responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians at the hand of the Israeli government. In the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb violence, the investigators tried to comprehend the two brother's motive and ascertain whether they had links to bigger organized terrorist networks. Numerous people did not understand how the two men, who grew up and studied in the United State, resorted to engaging in bombing attacks. The methods of the attacks were also different. In the World Trade Center bombing, the terrorists used a truck blasting method which they packed in the subversive parking lot of the building. The terrorists also choose an indoor place to launch their attack. On the other hand, the 201 Boston Marathon bombing suspects used pressure-cooker devices in the bombing.

On the side of similarities, the bombing attacks of 1993 and 2013 suspects had an Islamic origin. In addition, the suspects were not born in the U.S soil. The suspects had migrated to the U.S either at a young age in the case of 2013 attack or moved to the U.S. to plan the attack. Investigators also believed that the suspects in the two cases were inspired by extremist Islamic beliefs. Additionally, there was no involvement of terrorist groups, the suspects planned and undertook the bombing on their own. The two bombing activities had a huge negative impact on society. First, numerous people lost their loved ones while other people were injured. Some of those injured could not return to work and had to rely on other people for survival. After the two terrorist attacks, properties worth billions of shillings were destroyed.

One of the lessons learned is that extremists share a lot in common. Therefore, in developing counter-terrorism measures, the Homeland security and FBI need to understand that any group associated with radicalization ought to be stopped before the matter gets out of hand. Government agencies should also learn that mass media and broadcastings cannot understand the intents of the extremists. The extremists are likely to use restricted settings to design and formulate attacks. In the case of the 1993 and 2013 bombing attacks, the terrorists were careful not to draw attention while planning their attack and used hidden place to generate their explosives. Another lesson learned is that terrorists do not work alone. They are people involved in the attack even when they fail to be physically present during the attack. Therefore, government agencies need to use intelligence framework to understand terrorism future events (Harrison, 2018).

Terrorist strategies have evolved from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the 2013 Boston Marathon explosive attack. In the 1993 bomb attack, the FBI noted that the explosive was the biggest by mass and by destruction of any unpremeditated explosive equipment that was seen after the commencement of scientific bombing documentation. In the 2013 bomb attack, the terrorists used two pressure-cooker ammos packed with ball bearings, shrapnel and nails. The terrorist strategies have evolved due to technological advancement and change in political and socioeconomic landscapes. In 2013, the terrorist are seen to capitalize on the technology and wanted to make bombs that could maximize injuries. Contrary to the 1993 bombing device, the 2013 attack was not all about the size but the nature of the damage inflicted.

Summary and Conclusion

Evolution of terrorism has occurred since the 1993 World Trade Center bomb attack to the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb attack in 2013. In 1993, terrorism had not evolved into individual attacks. Most of the attacks were carried out by terrorist groups. However, after 9/11, the American government realized that some individual was planning to launch bomb attacks without the help of terrorist groups. In 2013, terrorism had evolved and more could be seen in terms of planning and execution (Harrison, 2018). The terrorists were able to plant two explosive devices that exploded within seconds. It appears that the terrorists had placed a timer on the explosive devices. Technological advancement was observed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing unlike in 1993 where the bombing was less technological.


Conclusively, the 1993 World Trade Center and 2013 Boston Marathon bombing attacks affected the United States on a large-scale. Terrorist events always have a significant impact on the affected society and its government. These events are no different, and both had a massive impact on the American government and its citizens. The two terrorism bombings have shown that terrorism is evolving due to advancement in technology. Therefore, government agencies need to use technology to develop counterterrorism strategies.


CNN. (2019). 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Fast Facts. Retrieved from: https://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/05/us/1993-world-trade-center-bombing-fast-facts/index.html on date 9/9/2019

Gabbatt, A. & Lovering, D. D. (2013). Two blasts at Boston Marathon kill three and injure more than 100. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/15/boston-marathon-explosion-finish-line on date9/9/2019

Greenspan, J. (2018). Remembering the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. Retrieved from: https://www.history.com/news/remembering-the-1993-world-trade-center-bombing on date 9/9/2019

Harrison, S. (2018). Evolving Tech, Evolving Terror. Retrieved from: https://www.csis.org/npfp/evolving-tech-evolving-terror on date 9/9/2019

Hays, T. (2018). AP Was There: The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Retrieved from: https://apnews.com/f4f1fd2b2d4b4a17b94ca7183fb65ba4 on date 9/9/2019

Hitchings, J. (2014). 2013 Boston Marathon: From Bombings to Capture. Retrieved from: https://abcnews.go.com/US/2013-boston-marathon-bombings-capture/story?id=23283310 on date 9/9/2019

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1993 WTC & 2013 Boston Marathon: Pre & Post 9/11 Terror Events - Research Paper. (2023, Feb 09). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/1993-wtc-2013-boston-marathon-pre-post-911-terror-events-research-paper

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