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Suspects still sought as world reacts to Boston bombings


13:55, April 17, 2013

BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will head to Boston on Thursday to speak at an interfaith service for those injured and killed in Monday's bombings there, the White House announced Tuesday.

The twin blasts that rocked the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon have killed at least three and injured more than 170 people. Media reports Tuesday said the explosive devices used in the Boston bombings were built from pressure cookers containing metal ball bearings.

Officials from the Chinese Consul General in New York have confirmed a Chinese national was among the three dead while another was injured, but was in a stable condition.

The other two dead in the explosions have been identified as 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and eight-year-old Martin Richard.

Obama has made two televised statements over the incident, saying the FBI was investigating Monday's explosions as "an act of terrorism."

He said the authorities still did not know "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." But he vowed the government would find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

There have been no arrests and no claims of responsibility to the worst bombings on U.S. soil since security was stepped up following the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks.

Cities in the United States and other countries have beefed up security at hotels, important locations and sports events.

New York tightened security at hotels and other prominent locations through deployment of the police department's critical response vehicles.

Police in Chicago began checking buildings and sites considered possible high-priority targets.

In Los Angeles, police planned to increase their presence at all scheduled sports events, including the deployment of bomb squads, dogs and other measures.

Meanwhile, police in San Francisco said they were on heightened alert and urged people to call 911 if they saw anything suspicious.

After the explosions, Rio Olympic organizers immediately reiterated that security was a priority, while Sydney said it would review its safety procedures for the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon on May 19.

Officials in Britain and Spain said the London and Madrid marathons would go ahead Sunday, but security plans for both races were under review.

France ordered tighter security measures and urged high vigilance to secure French interests and citizens from potential terrorist threats.

Following the blasts, countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, China, Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia, condemned the bombings and extended condolences to the victims.

Fears were further heightened a day after the bombings when Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi received mail Tuesday that tested positive for the poison ricin.

Investigators are scrambling for leads, but nothing yet is certain and it will likely take several days before details are established.

Richard Barrett, former coordinator of the United Nations Al-Qaida/Taliban Monitoring Team, cautioned against jumping to conclusions on the attackers' identities.

"My instinct is that this is not al-Qaida-related," he told Xinhua. "Although there were two, synchronized explosions, they were small for al-Qaida and the Boston Marathon is not an obvious al-Qaida target. But let's wait to see what the investigation reveals."

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also said there was no indication the bomb blasts were part of a broader plot.

In an article published Tuesday on its website, global intelligence company Stratfor said any number of groups could be responsible.

"There is no shortage of groups that would seek the terrorists' limelight internationally with an attack on a very public and highly media centric event such as the Boston Marathon," Stratfor said.

"There are also those who might see symbolism in proximity to the April 19, 1993 fire that ended the standoff with a religious cult near Waco, Texas, or the April 19, 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh," the article argued.

It also noted that April 15, the date the attackers struck, is the U.S. "tax day," or the date when individual tax returns are due to the federal government.

Analayst said whatever the nature of the attacks and the motives of the perpetrators, the worst bombings on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11 attacks were bound to pose new challenges to the Obama administration and prompt it to reflect on and scrutinize U.S. anti-terror mentality and policies.

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