26 years ago: 6 die in 1993 World Trade Center bombing

NEW YORK (WABC) -- February 26, 1993, was a day that changed New York City forever.

Tuesday marked 26 years since a car bomb exploded in an underground parking garage of the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring hundreds.

The city held a solemn commemoration of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing at the 9/11 memorial plaza.

The ceremony also included a reading of victims' names and a moment of silence at 12:18 p.m., when the bomb exploded and became a harbinger of more terror at the twin towers eight years later.

The bomb, in an underground parking garage, was set by Muslim extremists who sought to punish the U.S. for its Middle East policies, according to federal prosecutors.

Afterward, the World Trade Center's operating agency issued an apology, saying the agency and the country were wholly unprepared for an event that became a precursor to 9/11.

Six bombing suspects were convicted and are in prison, including accused ringleader Ramzi Yousef, a nephew of self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A seventh suspect in the bombing remains at large.

A police officer assists a survivor of the World Trade Center bombing in New York, Feb. 26, 1993. A terrorist bomb killed six people and injured more than 1,000.

AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler

An estimated 50,000 people fled the blacked-out twin towers, some groping their way down smoky stairs, others rescued from stalled elevators or plucked from rooftops by police helicopters. More than 1,000 were injured.

A memorial fountain dedicated to the 1993 bombing was crushed in the attacks that destroyed the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. But bombing victims' names are now inscribed on one of the memorial pools that bear the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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