Factbox: Attacks on planes by Qaeda and like-minded groups

SANAA (BestGrowthStock) – Yemeni forces on Saturday arrested a woman believed to be involved in sending explosive packages bound for the United States that triggered a global security alert.

Here are some details of attacks on aircraft by al Qaeda members or like-minded militants over the last 20 years:


— Islamist militants first drew up plans for multiple, coordinated, near-simultaneous attacks on planes in the early 1990s. An attack in December 1994, carried out on a Japan-bound Philippine Airlines plane, which killed a Japanese passenger and injured 10 others, was a deliberate experiment to test the effectiveness of a new liquid explosive.

— Documents and laptops seized after a raid on the Manila apartment of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, convicted of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York, and the arrest of Pakistani militant Abdul Hakim Murad, also revealed many plans for attacking U.S. targets.

— One plan, codenamed Operation Bojinka, involved the bombing of 11 commercial airliners flying to the United States in January 1995. The targeted flights were trans-oceanic routes between east Asia and the United States. All had two legs, and the plan involved placing bombs aboard the planes on the first legs, and then detonating them on their second legs. Philippines officials have said an architect of Bojinka was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Pakistani raised in Kuwait, who joined al Qaeda in the late 1990s and is accused of designing the September 11 attacks.

* SEPTEMBER 11, 2001:

— The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York both collapsed after two hijacked commercial airliners slammed into each building. A third plane struck the Pentagon near Washington and a fourth crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania. At least 2,992 people died in the coordinated attacks for which al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was blamed.


— Richard Reid, a British-born follower of bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison in January 2003 for trying to blow up a transatlantic flight with explosives stuffed in his shoes.

— Reid tried to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 on December 22, 2001, as it flew to Miami from Paris. He was unapologetic for his actions and said he was “at war” with the United States because it sponsored “rape and torture.”


— Three Britons were found guilty in September 2009 of plotting to kill thousands by blowing up transatlantic airliners bound for North America in mid-flight suicide attacks using bombs made from liquid explosives.

— The bombers intended to simultaneously destroy at least seven planes carrying over 200 passengers each between London’s Heathrow airport and the United States and Canada in August 2006 using explosives hidden in soft drink bottles, prosecutors said.

— The plot was hatched in Pakistan just months before the men were arrested in August 2006. Police suspected that al Qaeda planner, Egyptian Abu Obaidah al Masri, who some media reports have cited as the inspiration for the deadly July 7, 2005 suicide bombings in London, was the mastermind.

— Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali was told he would serve a minimum of 40 years, Assad Sarwar was jailed for at least 36 years; and Tanvir Hussain received a minimum term of 32 years.


— Abdulmutallab was seized on December 25, 2009 after trying to blow up U.S.-bound Northwest flight 253, with explosives sewn into the crotch of his underpants, as it approached Detroit. His attempt was thwarted by passengers and crew on the plane who extinguished the flames and restrained him.

— A U.S. grand jury indicted Abdulmutallab on six charges including attempted murder and the attempted use of a “weapon of mass destruction” to bring down a plane carrying 289 other people.

Factbox: Attacks on planes by Qaeda and like-minded groups