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US to go to 'ends of the Earth' to find Boston bombers

17 April, 2013

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BOSTON: US investigators on Tuesday pledged to go "to the ends of the Earth" to find those behind the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 170, many with horrific injuries.

Boston's Boylston Street, scene of the finish line carnage on Monday, remained sealed off as investigators sought leads in the worst attack in the United States since the September 11, 2001 atrocities.

President Barack Obama vowed that the attackers "will feel the full weight of justice", police searched the apartment of one "person of interest" and a Saudi man remained under guard in hospital. But there were no convincing answers for a city in mourning.

"This was a heinous and cowardly act," Obama said at the White House. "Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror."

Obama said while the impact of the attacks near the finish line of the Boston marathon on Monday, which killed three people and wounded more than 170 others, were clear, the motives and the identify of those responsible was not.

"What we don't yet know, however, is who carried out this attack or why, whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual," he said.

But the president again vowed to bring whoever was behind the assault to justice, and warned that America would not be cowed by terrorism.

"We also know this — the American people refuse to be terrorized," he said.

In frank and direct language, Obama vowed to keep Americans up to speed with developments in the investigation and asked them to remain vigilant.

"What I have indicated to you is what we now know. We know it was bombs that were set off. We know that obviously they did some severe damage. We do not know who did them," he said.

"We don't have a sense of motive yet. So everything else at this point is speculation."

No suspect was in custody though several people were being questioned in the Boston area, but the hunt was expected to expand to other countries, police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials said.

"This will be a worldwide investigation," said Rick DesLauriers, head of the FBI's Boston office.

"We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects responsible for this despicable crime," he added. "We are using full capacities of the FBI, to its fullest worldwide extent."

The two bombs, which were 13 seconds and about 100 meters apart, killed three people and injured 176, with 17 people in critical condition, Boston police commissioner Ed Davis told reporters.

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel told lawmakers on Tuesday that the bombings appeared to be a "cruel act of terror." "There were no intelligence warnings that we know of," said Representative Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who gave details of the huge hunt launched by US authorities. "The war on terrorism is far from over, whether it is Islamic jihadists or right-wing extremists," he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin led a chorus of global condemnation, describing the twin explosions as "barbaric".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "horrified" and that "nothing justifies such a malicious attack on people attending a peaceful sporting event."

Iran strongly condemned the blasts which brought back memories of the nearly 3,000 people killed in suicide airliner strikes on the United States on September 11, 2001.

The national flag over the White House and other US government buildings was lowered to half-staff, and the New York Stock Exchange held a minute of silence before trading started to honour the bomb victims.

End.

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