News / USA

    Obama: Boston Bombings an 'Act of Terrorism'

    President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, about the Boston Marathon explosions.
    President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, about the Boston Marathon explosions.
    President Barack Obama says Monday's bombings along the route of the Boston Marathon were an act of terrorism.  Officials say three people died in the explosions and more than 170 were injured. 

    Obama told reporters at the White House the bomb attack in Boston was a "heinous and cowardly act" and for the first time described it as an act of terrorism.

    "Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror," the president said. "What we do not 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.  That is what we do not yet know and clearly we are at the beginning of our investigation."

    Watch related video report by VOA's Richard Green
    Comprehensive Investigation Underway Into Boston Marathon Bombingi
    X
    April 16, 2013 5:22 PM
    U.S. federal investigators have launched a massive investigation into Monday's twin bombing at the Boston Marathon that left at least three people dead and more than 140 others injured. VOA's Richard Green has the latest on the investigation, and the global reaction to the tragedy.

    Investigation

    Meanwhile in Boston, federal, state and local investigators briefed reporters at a hotel not far from the scene of the bombings that rocked the city Monday.

    The FBI agent in charge of the investigation, Rick Deslauriers, says officials have received “voluminous tips” in connection with the bombings and investigators will follow the trail of evidence wherever it leads.

    “This will be a worldwide investigation.  We will go where the evidence and the leads take us," Deslauriers announced. "We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice.”

    FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, far right, speaks as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, left, and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, center, listen during a news conference in Boston, April 16, 2013.FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, far right, speaks as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, left, and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, center, listen during a news conference in Boston, April 16, 2013.
    x
    FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, far right, speaks as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, left, and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, center, listen during a news conference in Boston, April 16, 2013.
    FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, far right, speaks as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, left, and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, center, listen during a news conference in Boston, April 16, 2013.
    The FBI as well as state and local authorities continue to interview witnesses and conduct forensic analysis of the crime scene, which was at the finish line for the Boston Marathon, which draws elite runners from around the world.

    Investigators are asking the public to come forward with video or still photographs they may have taken around the time of the bombings as they search for clues.

    Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says investigators are already sifting through numerous video surveillance tapes from businesses in the area.

    “It is our intention to go through every frame of every video that we have to determine exactly who was in the area.  This is probably one of the most well photographed areas in the country yesterday,” remarked Davis.

    Responsibility

    Deadly bombings in the United States

    • April 15, 2013: Twin blasts at the Boston Marathon kill at least 3, injure more than 140
    • September 11, 2001: Hijacked jets crash into World Trade Center, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field killing nearly 3,000
    • July 27, 1996: Atlanta Summer Olympics bombing kills 2, injures more than 100
    • April 19, 1995: Car bomb at Oklahoma City federal building kills 168, injures more than 500
    • February 26, 1993: Van explosion in World Trade Center garage kills 6, injures more than 1,000
    • December 29, 1975: Bomb at New York's LaGuardia Airport kills 11, injures 75
    • September 16, 1920: Bombing in New York's Wall Street area kills 40, injures hundreds
    Officials say no one has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.  FBI agent DesLauriers would not comment on reports that police have questioned one man in connection with the case and searched a home in the nearby suburb of Revere.

    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said an earlier report that unexploded devices had been found was incorrect.  He said the only explosives found were the two that went off.

    Patrick urged Bostonians to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.

    “Everyone should expect continued, heightened police presence and everyone should continue to personally be vigilant,” he said.

    Patrick said an interfaith prayer service is being organized for Wednesday in Boston in the wake of the tragedy.

    Longtime Boston Mayor Tom Menino also said the tragedy will bring the city together.

    The Boston Marathon

    • 2013 more than 23,000 runners
    • Last year, runners from 92 countries took part
    • Race passes through eight cities and towns
    • Held on Patriots' Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts
    • Only U.S. marathon that maintains qualifying times
    • World's oldest still-running annual marathon, first held in 1897
    “This is a bad day for Boston, but I think if we pull together we will get through it.  We are a strong city and lot of people are willing to work together to make this a better place for all our people,” Menino reassured Bostonians.

    The marathon traditionally is held on what is known as Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, a state holiday that commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution in Concord and Lexington in 1775.

    • In this image from video provided by WBZ-TV, spectators and runners run from what was described as twin explosions that shook the finish line of the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • An emergency responder and volunteers, including Carlos Arredondo in the cowboy hat, push Jeff Bauman in a wheel chair after he was injured in an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, 2013.
    • Medical workers transport the injured across the finish line during the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion, April 15, 2013.
    • Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion, April 15, 2013.
    • One of the blast sites on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon is investigated by two people in protective suits in the wake of two blasts in Boston April 15, 2013.
    • Runner John Ounao cries when he finds friends after several explosions rocked the finish of the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • A police officer clears Boylston Street following an explosion at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • Medical workers aid a wounded woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there, April 15, 2013.
    • Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, April 15, 2013.
    • A woman is comforted by a man near a triage tent set up after explosions went off at the 117th Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • A Massachusetts state police officer guards the area containing the medical tent, rear, following an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • An unidentified Boston Marathon runner leaves the course crying near Copley Square following an explosion, April 15, 2013.
    • A Boston police officer wheels in injured boy down Boylston Street as medical workers carry an injured runner following an explosion during the 2013 Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • Justine Franco of Montpelier, Vermont, holds up a sign near Copley Square looking for her missing friend, April, who was running in her first Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.
    • President Barack Obama leaves the podium after speaking in the press briefing room at the White House, April 15, 2013, following the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

    Security has been boosted in several major U.S. cities, including New York and Washington, and condemnations of the Boston bombings have come from around the globe.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora