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9/11 attacks: 102 minutes that changed America

The Al-Qaeda plane hijackings of September 11, 2001 -- the first foreign attack on the US mainland in nearly two centuries.

Published: 11th September 2016 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2016 09:49 AM   |  A+A-

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This file photo taken on September 11, 2001 shows a hijacked commercial plane crashing into the World Trade Center in New York. The Twin Towers collapsed later on that day. September 11, 2016 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the event | AFP

By AFP

NEW YORK: Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

The Al-Qaeda plane hijackings of September 11, 2001 -- the first foreign attack on the US mainland in nearly two centuries -- ruptured a sense of safety and plunged the West into wars still being fought today.

Two planes smashed into New York's World Trade Center, leaving 2,753 dead. A third hit the Pentagon in Washington, killing 184, and 40 more died after a fourth plane headed for Washington crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt.

Here is the timeline of the events that fateful morning, which reshaped the course of US history.

8:46 am - The first strike

An American Airlines Boeing 767 making a Boston-Los Angeles connection with 92 people on board -- including five hijackers -- smashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, leaving a giant hole in the building's facade. Thick smoke trails into the sky from the tower's upper floors.

9:03 am - Second tower hit

A United Airlines Boeing 767 making a Boston-Los Angeles connection with 65 people on board -- including five hijackers -- hits the South Tower of the WTC, sparking a massive explosion.

9:30 am - Bush speaks

Then US president George W. Bush, in Sarasota, Florida, calls the blasts "an apparent terrorist attack." He orders "a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed these acts" and says he will immediately return to Washington.

9:37 am - Pentagon hit

An American Airlines Boeing 757 making a Washington Dulles-Los Angeles connection with 64 people on board -- including five hijackers -- smashes into the Pentagon in suburban Washington, setting off two explosions.

9:42 am - Planes grounded

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) orders the cancellation of all commercial flights in the United States.

9:59 am - South Tower collapses

The WTC's South Tower, hit 56 minutes earlier, collapses in a huge cloud of smoke and dust.

10:03 am - Crash in Pennsylvania

A United Airlines Boeing 757 traveling from Newark to San Francisco with 44 people on board -- including four hijackers -- crashes into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew apparently fought with the hijackers.

10:28 am - North Tower collapses

The north tower of the WTC collapses, an hour and 42 minutes after it was struck. A huge cloud of dust blankets lower Manhattan.

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