Twenty-two years after the 11 September jihadist attacks on the United States, the remains of two people who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center have been identified through DNA analysis, the authorities said ahead of the latest commemoration of the 2001 disaster.
The identities of the two, a man and a woman, are being withheld at the request of their families.
They bring to 1,649 the number of victims whose remains have been identified, of the total 2,753 who died when an Al-Qaeda commando crashed two hijacked civilian airliners into New York's twin towers, the city's mayor and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) said.
"We hope these new identifications can bring some measure of comfort to the families of these victims, and the ongoing efforts by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner attest to the city's unwavering commitment to reunite all the World Trade Center victims with their loved ones," mayor Eric Adams said, according to a statement released late Friday.
But with 1,104 victims still unidentified, progress has been agonisingly slow. The previous two identifications were made in 2021.
When the trade center's south tower, and then its north, collapsed in a deafening roar, raining down a deluge of fire, choking gray dust and twisted steel on the Manhattan streets below, the violence was so extreme that no identifiable trace has been found of hundreds of the missing.
The two latest identifications were made possible through the use of "next-generation sequencing technology - more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques," the statement said. Remains of the man and woman had been found years ago.
The 2001 attacks are commemorated every 11 September in New York, as they will be again on Monday.
Nineteen jihadists, most of them Saudis, had hijacked four planes. In addition to the two that destroyed the World Trade Center, a third plane slammed into the Pentagon near Washington inflicting heavy damage, and a fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew fought with the attackers. Together, the day's terror attacks claimed 2,977 lives.