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On September 11, 2001, nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airlines and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Often referred to as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, activating major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and definin the presidency of George W. Bush. Over three thousand people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than four hundred police officers and firefighters.
At 8:45 a.m., on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with twenty thousand gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a wide, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110- story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. Eighteen minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767– United Airlines Flight 175–appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and crashed into the south tower near the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning fragment over surrounding buildings and the streets below. America was under attack.
The attackers were Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations. Reportedly financed by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization, they ________ (1) in retaliation for America’s support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War and its continued military presence in the Middle East. Some of the terrorists had lived in the United States for more than a year and ________ (2) flying lessons at American commercial flight schools.
As millions watched the events unfolding in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C., and banged into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:45 a.m. Jet fuel from the Boeing 757 caused a devastating inferno that led to the structural collapse of a portion of the giant concrete building. Less than fifteen minutes after the terrorists struck the nerve center of the U.S. military, the horror in New York took a catastrophic turn for the worse when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke. At 10:30 a.m., the other Trade Center tower collapsed. Close to three thousand people died in the World Trade Center and its vicinity, including an impressive three hundred and forty three firefighters and paramedics, twenty three New York City police officers and thirty seven Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the buildings and save the office workers trapped* on higher floors.
Meanwhile, a fourth California-bound plane– United Flight 93–was hijacked about forty minutes after leaving Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Because the plane had been delayed in taking off, passengers on board learned of events in New York and Washington via cell phone calls to the ground. Knowing that the aircraft was not returning to an airport as the hijackers claimed, a group of passengers and flight attendants planned a rebellion. One of the passengers, Thomas Burnett Jr., told his wife over the phone that “I know we’re all going to die. There are three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Another passenger–Todd Beamer–was heard saying “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line.
The passengers fought the four hijackers and are suspected to have attacked the cockpit with a fire extinguisher. The plane then flipped over and sped toward the ground, crashing in a rural field in western Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m. All forty-five people aboard were killed. Within two months, U.S. forces had effectively removed the Taliban from operational power, but the war continued. Osama bin Laden, was finally chased and killed by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Adapted from http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks. Acessado em 04/04/2013.
*Trapped – to be in a bad situation that is difficult to escape.
Choose the alternative containing the correct verbal tenses to complete the gaps (1) and (2) in the text.
One of the main reasons of the Al Qaeda attacks was
Consider the following statements based on the text.
The correct ones are only
According to the text, “some terrorists had lived in the United States for more than a year [f]”. It means that the terrorists
The word “meanwhile” (paragraph 5) indicates in the text that
The verb “learned” (paragraph 5) has the same meaning as
The sentence “Thomas Burnett Jr. told his wife over the phone that ‘I know that we’re all going to die’ ” is similar in meaning to Thomas Burnett Jr.
Mark the right option to complete the statement.
If the plane hadn’t been delayed in taking off, the passengers __________ about the events in New York and Washington.