Other attempted bomb attacks on US soil since 9/11


In the 11 years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon, there are have a number of other attempted bomb attacks on US soil or on flights to the country.

22.12.2001 British Muslim Richard Reid is caught trying to ignite a bomb in his shoe on a flight from Paris to Miami. Reid had been a regular worshipper at the Brixton and Finsbury Park mosques in London and spent 1999 and 2000 at terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. In 2003 he was found guilty of eight terror charges and sentenced to life without possibility of parole, a term he is serving at the Florence ‘Supermax’ prison in Colorado.

25.12.2009 Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, tries to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear. The device fails to go off. Abdulmutallab, who had attended al Qa’ida terrorist training camps in Yemen, was on the US government watchlist after his father had contacted the US consulate in Abuja, Nigeria, earlier that year to tell them he was worried about his son’s behaviour. Crucially, his name was not added to the US government’s no-fly list.

1.5.2010 New York City: Police foil an attempted terror attack on Times Square when they spot a smoking car parked on the side of the street. Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American citizen, is arrested at JFK airport two days later attempting to board a flight to Dubai en route to Islamabad. He admits to 10 terror-related charges including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and is sentenced to a mandatory life term with no possibility of parole. Shahzad confesses to attending a militant training camp in Waziristan, on the Afghan/Pakistani border. Twelve others are arrested in Pakistan in connection with the plot.

10.5.2010 Jacksonville, Florida: Firebomb detonates outside the  Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, where 60 Muslims are involved in evening prayers. No one is injured. CCTV captures a man carrying a pipe and gas can behind the mosque immediately before the explosion. Sandlin Matthews Smith is eventually shot and killed by police in a field in Oklahoma a year later, after FBI agents track down the van he was driving on the film. Police reports claim he confessed to a friend that he "was angry about our men going overseas, fighting and dying", and that he "wanted to make a statement and show Muslims that they were vulnerable too".

17.01.2011 A ‘viable’ pipe bomb is found on the route of the Martin Luther King memorial march in Spokane, Washington. The device is designed to hit marchers with shrapnel and contains rat poison to stop wounds from healing. It is defused before it explodes. Two months later 36-year-old Kevin William Harpham, who allegedly has links to the white supremacist group the National Alliance, is arrested. On December 20 he was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

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