This verse is misquoted in this case. I actually laughed because the classical commentaries on Qur'an have explained this verse centuries before and I can see how the people who committed the heinous act of terror have misquoted this verse to suit their purpose and justify their actions. I will provide the historical context of this verse and also the message from this verse.
In pre-islamic period, the people of Makkah were polytheistic and there was also a lot of oppression, slavery and much injustice in the society. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) started preaching Islam to the people of Makkah and asked people to worship only Allah, be just with people and warned them of the consequences in the hereafter of associating partners with Allah. He started alone and as time progressed, there were people who found the truth of his call and joined him. But they were just few. The polytheists of Makkah hated them, oppressed them and tried to kill them. The muslims wanted to fight them back. However, Allah ordered the muslims to be patient with them, forgive them and call them to islam since fighting was not legislated. Then the muslims, migrated to Madinah since it was too dangerous for them to stay at Makkah. In Madinah, muslims got power, support and strength. Then, it was commanded to fight the oppressors, and idolators of Makkah. You should notice that the muslims were very patient at the beginning, however the people of Makkah didn't change their ways. When the fighting was commanded, some of the muslims were weary and also fearful in facing the idolators at the battle. As in the verse before in Qur'an, Allah mentions them:
But then when fighting was ordained for them, at once a party of them feared men as they fear Allah or with [even] greater fear. They say: "Our Lord! Why have You ordained for us fighting Would that
You had granted us respite for a short period' [An-Nisa:77]
That is, some of them asked Allah to delay the fighting because they feared death and loss. Hence, in order to encourage them to fight, Allah reveals in the same verse:
Say, The enjoyment of this world is little, and the Hereafter is
better for he who fears Allah.
That is, everything in this world is little compared to the reward in the hereafter if one fights in the cause of Allah. And this was fighting against oppression and injustice. And since some of those muslims feared death, Allah revealed in next verse:
Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be
within towers of lofty construction.
Now, this verse - It shows the reality of death. Those muslims feared their death in battle and preferred to remain at their homes. To them Allah said even if you are in your homes, and even if you make big lofty towers and hide inside it, you cannot prevent death. This is the reality of death i.e. we find ourselves healthy and happy and enjoying our lives and death suddenly overtakes us. So, Allah tells them that the matter of death is in the complete control of Allah and death will take them at the time decreed by Allah. Fighting in the cause of Allah doesn't hasten it or locking yourself in lofty towers will not prevent it or delay it. No one can escape death. Everyone has an appointed time, and a limited term of life.
In the famous commentary of Ibn Katheer, he mentions the incident of commander of the muslims in several battles, in context of this verse. Khalid bin Al-Walid, the commander of muslims, wanted to always die in a battle. However, he did not. Because, it was not in his control. He died a natural death. In the illness that preceded his death, Khalid bin Al-Walid said, while in his bed, "I participated in so and so number of battles, and every part of my body sustained an injury due to a stab or a shot. Yet here I am, I die in my bed! Let not the eyes of the cowards ever taste sleep.''
Those muslims weren't able to understand this. That is why Allah tells them in the same verse:
But if good comes to them, they say, "This is from Allah "; and if
evil befalls them, they say, "This is from you." Say, "All [things]
are from Allah ." So what is [the matter] with those people that they
can hardly understand any statement?
That is both good and bad things that happen to them is from Allah and it is his control.
This verse has, in reality, nothing to do with towers, or skyscrappers or anything of that sort. The word " بُرُوجٍ" translated as fortresses has been given too much unnecessary importance and cause. It was just meant to convey the message about reality of death which I explained above. It has no other significance.
Source: Tafsir Ibn Kathir