Boston bombing: ‘This is personal,’ says President Obama as FBI zeroes in on pair of bombing ‘suspects’
President and First Lady fly in for service honouring victims
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Thursday 18 April 2013
“We will find you. We will hold you accountable,” President Obama warned the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings at a service for the victims today, as investigators studying video footage from the blast site focused on two men whom the country’s homeland security chief said they wish to speak to in connection with the attack.
The developments came as the President and First Lady Michelle Obama arrived to attend an interfaith service at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Facing an audience that included the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, former state governor and ex-Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and hundreds of ordinary Bostonians, the President mourned the three fatalities and offered encouragement to the injured, many of whom lost their limbs in the blasts. Eight-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year old Krystle Campbell and 23-year old Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China, were killed when the twin bombs went off on Monday.
“Even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on; we finish the race... And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence, these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build and think somehow that makes them important - that’s what they don’t understand,” the President said.
Recalling his student days at Harvard Law School, across the Charles river from Boston, he said: “Boston’s your hometown but we claim it a little bit too... You welcomed me as a young law student across the river - welcomed Michelle too.... Like you, Michelle and I have walked these streets. Like you, we know these neighborhoods. And like you, in this moment of grief, we join you in saying: Boston, you’re my home. For millions of us, what happened in Monday is personal. It’s personal.”
Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, the US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a House of Representatives Committee in Washington that investigators had been collecting videos of the area around the marathon finish line on Boston’s Boylston Street to track down the perpetrators.
“We have been collecting video from a variety of sources, as you might imagine, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. There’s lots and lots of video. There is some video that has raised the question of those that the FBI would like to speak with,” she said. “I wouldn’t characterize them as suspects under the technical term. But we need the public’s help in locating these individuals.”
It was, however, unclear if law enforcement authorities would release pictures of the individuals they wish to question. A report in the Boston Globe suggesting that they planned to do so was countered by the FBI, with agent Jason Pack telling the Washington Post that no decision had been taken.
James Clapper, America’s top intelligence official, told a Senate hearing that authorities still did not know who was behind the attacks. “We don’t know yet whether the attack was planned and executed by a terrorist organisation, foreign or domestic, or if it was an individual act,” he said this morning.
Investigators are said to be in the process of identifying the two individuals who were hovering by the finish line in Boston on Monday, carrying bags similar to the ones that officials suspect were used to deliver the improvised explosive devices to the blast site. No official suspects have been named or otherwise identified by local, state or federal authorities involved in the case.
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