The FBI’s investigation into the bombings at the Boston Marathon was in full swing yesterday, with authorities serving a warrant on a suburban Boston home and appealing for any private video, audio and still images of the blasts that killed three people and wounded more than 140.
Officials said no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings on one of the city’s most famous civic holidays, Patriots’ Day, but the blasts that left the streets spattered with blood and glass raised fears of a terrorist attack.
US President Barack Obama was careful not to use the words “terror” or “terrorism” as he spoke at the White House on Monday after the deadly bombings, but an administration official said the bombings were being treated as an act of terrorism.
“We will find out who did this. We’ll find out why they did this,” the president said. “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
A European security official yesterday said initial evidence indicates that the attacks were not the work of suicide bombers.
“So far, investigators believe it was not the work of suicide bombers, but it is still too early to rule it out completely,” said the official, who spoke from the US on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the US investigation.
The Pakistani Taliban, which has threatened attacks in the US because of its support for the Pakistani government, yesterday denied any role in the marathon bombings.
The fiery explosions took place about 10 seconds and about 90m apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the route.
Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from windowpanes as high as three stories. Victims suffered broken bones, shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums.
Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, Rhode Island, had just finished the race when he heard the explosions.
“I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor,” he said. “We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated … At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”
At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services, said: “This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war.”
As many as two unexploded bombs were found near the end of the 42.16km course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior US intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.
WBZ-TV reported late on Monday that law enforcement officers were searching an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere. Massachusetts State Police confirmed that a search warrant related to the investigation into the explosions was served on Monday night in Revere, but provided no further details.
Some investigators were seen leaving the Revere house early yesterday carrying brown paper bags, plastic trash bags and a duffel bag.
Police said three people were killed. An eight-year-old boy was among the dead, according to a person who talked to a friend of the family and spoke on condition of anonymity. The person said the boy’s mother and sister were also injured as they waited for his father to finish the race.