News Column

Boston Marathon: Obama Calls Blasts 'Evil' Act of Terror

April 16, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday called the bombings at the Boston Marathon an "evil ... act of terror" but said we don't yet know who was behind it.

Obama, in remarks from the White House, hailed the actions of those who aided the wounded in the wake of the explosions, which killed three, including an 8-year-old boy, and wounded scores near the finish line of the race Monday.

"The American people refuse to be terrorized," Obama, citing the actions of those who exhibited "heroism and kindness and generosity and love, exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood and those who stayed to tend to the wounded, some tearing off their own clothes to make tourniquets, the first responders who ran into the chaos to save lives, the men and women who are still treating the wounded at some of the best hospitals in the world, and the medical students who hurried to help, saying, 'When we heard, we all came in,' the priests who opened their churches and ministered to the hurt and the fearful, and the good people of Boston who opened their homes to the victims of this attack and those shaken by it.

"So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that's it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid."

"This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror," Obama said.

"Any time bombs are used to attack innocent civilians, it is an act of terror."

Obama said it is yet unclear who planted the bombs, saying we don't know whether it was a terrorist organization, "domestic or foreign," or whether a lone "malevolent" individual was involved.

"Clearly we are at the beginning of our investigation," he said. "It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened, but we will find out. We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice."

Suspicious packages found and detonated by bomb squads as a precaution after the explosions were not explosive devices, officials said.

Investigators now say the only bombs were the two that exploded at the marathon. Authorities have not said what the bombs were made of, but a doctor treating some of the wounded at Massachusetts General Hospital said patients had nails, or nail-like sharp objects, and "pellets" in their bodies.

A federal law enforcement official told CNN both bombs were small, and initial tests indicated they lacked high-grade explosive material.

Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston Division, called Monday's blasts a "criminal investigation" that also was a "potential terrorist investigation."

In opening remarks before the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the bombings were a "cruel act of terror."

Police locked down a 15-block area around the scene and the blast area remained closed Tuesday.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Boston "will not be business as usual" in the wake of the terror attack and police presence would be heavy.

Three people were killed and as many as 144 were hurt Monday when two bombs went off near the finish line. Seventeen of the injured were listed in critical condition at Boston-area hospitals.

Among the dead was an 8-year-old boy, identified by The Boston Globe as Martin Richard of Dorchester, Mass. His mother and sister were injured by the explosion.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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