Skip to main content /US /US

Convicted bomb conspirator linked to plots

By Phil Hirschkorn
CNN New York Bureau

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, plotted to bomb U.S. airliners more than five years ago.

While the 33-year-old Iraqi national has not been named as a suspect in last week's terrorist attacks, his name and those of his associates have frequently appeared in the news.

Attack on America
 CNN NewsPass Video 
Agencies reportedly got hijack tips in 1998
Intelligence intercept led to Buffalo suspects
Report cites warnings before 9/11
Timeline: Who Knew What and When?
Interactive: Terror Investigation
Terror Warnings System
Most wanted terrorists
What looks suspicious?
In-Depth: America Remembers
In-Depth: Terror on Tape
In-Depth: How prepared is your city?
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk

Here's some background of what is known about Yousef:

-- He was convicted on September 5, 1996, of plotting to blow up 12 U.S. airliners originating from the Philippines and elsewhere in East Asia. The planes were to explode over the Pacific Ocean in a plot called "Project Bojinka." Also convicted were Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah.

-- Yousef was convicted separately in the same trial of planting a test bomb on a Philippines Airlines jet bound for Tokyo, Japan, on December 11, 1994. He had boarded the jet in Manila under an assumed name, planting the device under a seat and leaving the plane during a layover. The bomb exploded during the next leg of the flight, killing one passenger and injuring 10 others, but the plane remained intact and was able to make an emergency landing in Okinawa, Japan.

-- On January 6, 1995, a fire broke out in apartment 6-C of the Josepha Apartments in Manila, where Yousef and Murad had been mixing explosives. Murad was arrested, but Yousef fled to Pakistan, leaving behind a laptop computer. It detailed the airliner plot as well as a plan to assassinate the pope.

-- 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.

-- 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.

-- 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.

-- Yousef lived for a time in a Pakistani boarding house run by Saudi exile Osama bin Laden. In a 1997 interview with CNN, bin Laden said he did not know Yousef personally.

-- 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.

-- Shah has been cooperating with the government since August 1998 or earlier and has yet to be sentenced. He recently was housed close to prosecutors at a facility in lower Manhattan, New York.

-- CNN's Abighail Brigham contributed to this story.

See related sites about US
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


Back to the top