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Homeland Security

Project Bojinka

Terrorist Plotting

Event Details
Primary OrganizationProject Bojinka Cell
Other OrganizationAl-Qaeda
Other OrganizationAbu Sayyaf
Center of GravityManila, Philippines
Plot Started August 1994
Plot Ended January 1995
ConnectedRamzi Yousef (Leader) , Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Wali Khan Amin Shah, Abdul Hakim Murad
ConnectedMohammed Jamal Khalifa (Financier)
Narrative and Notes
ReliableProject Bojinka, also known as Opplan Bojinka, was a massive, complex plot hatched by Ramzi Yousef following the truck bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The term Bojinka is Serbian for "loud bang."

Based in Manila, Yousef and his associates began work on a series of bombs and timing devices for use aboard airplanes and in public places.

According to Abdul Hakim Murad, who capture foiled the plot, Yousef chose Manila as his base of operations because of the low standard of living there.

Yousef's primary target was up a dozen transpacific airliners. Plotters would sneak bomb parts and liquid explosives onto planes and assemble the bombs while on board. They would get off at an intermediate stop and leave the bombs to explode via timers while en route to their final destination in the United States. This appears to be the most mature part of Bojinka: Specific flights were targeted, and Yousef himself performed a "test run" on a Philippines Airlines flight to Tokyo that left one man dead. This aspect of the plot is similar to the transatlantic airliners plot disrupted by British authorities in 2006.

Other targets included Pope John Paul II and President Clinton during separate visits to Manila; the U.S. Consular Office in Karachi, Pakistan; nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom, France and the United States; U.S. cargo planes; and CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia.

Murad proposed crashing a hijacked airliner into the building. It is thought this may be the inspiration for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 9-11.

In early January 1995, a fire broke out among the bomb chemicals at Yousef's apartment. Murad was arrested and interrogated and gave up details of the plot; Yousef and the others escaped.1,2,3
PossibleAl-Qaeda is widely regarded as guiding the plot, or at least funding it. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, is thought to have financed it, and Wali Khan Amin Shah was a senior al-Qaeda operative. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, however, would not formally join al-Qaeda for several years yet.
1Filipino Debrief of Abdul Hakim Murad, Feb. 21, 1995.
2United States vs. Ramzi Yousef et. al. indictment.
3The 9-11 Commission Report. July 22, 2004. Chapter 5.1.
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Page last modified: 01-11-2006 18:05:14 ZULU