Obama: You will run again

2013-04-18 19:59
President Barack Obama speaks during an interfaith healing service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, for victims of the Boston Marathon explosions. (Charles Krupa, AP)

President Barack Obama speaks during an interfaith healing service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, for victims of the Boston Marathon explosions. (Charles Krupa, AP)

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Boston - "You will run again," President Barack Obama told a grieving Boston on Thursday, as investigators of the marathon bombing focused on a man seen dropping off a bag and walking away from the site of the second of Monday's two deadly explosions.

The discovery of the image - found on surveillance footage from a department store near the finish line - was detailed by a city politician two days after the attack that left three people dead, wounded more than 170, and cast a dark shadow over one of the city's most joyous traditions. The footage hasn't been made public.

At an interfaith service honouring the victims, Obama said "there is a piece of Boston in me" as he paid tribute to the city shaken by what he has called an act of terror.

"Every one of us stands with you," he said.

There was a heavy police presence around the city's main Roman Catholic cathedral as residents lined up before dawn, hoping to get one of the roughly 2 000 seats inside. By 09:00, they were being turned away.

Streets were blocked off around the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Among the hundreds in line was 18-year-old Eli Philips.

The college student was a marathon volunteer and was wearing his volunteer jacket.

He said he was still shocked that "something that was euphoric went so bad."

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China.

Men sought for questioning

Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said the FBI wants to speak with two men seen in at least one video from the marathon, but she added she isn't calling them suspects.

Without providing details of the men's appearance or what the video shows, Napolitano told the House Homeland Security Committee that "there is some video that raised the question" of two men. She said the investigation is continuing "apace."

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said he shared the frustration that the person or people responsible were still at large, but he said solving the case will not "happen by magic”.

"It's going to happen by doing the careful work that must be done in a thorough investigation," Patrick said.

"That means going through the couple of blocks at the blast scene square inch by square inch and picking up pieces of evidence and following those trails, and that's going to take some time."

The bombs were crudely fashioned from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and ball bearings, investigators and others close to the case said. Investigators suspect the devices were then hidden in black duffel bags and left on the ground.

As a result, they were looking for images of someone lugging a dark, heavy bag. Investigators had appealed to the public to provide videos and photographs from the race finish line.

Witness descriptions

City Council president Stephen Murphy, who said he was briefed by Boston police, said investigators saw the image of the man dropping off a bag and matched the findings with witness descriptions of someone leaving the scene.

One department store video "has confirmed that a suspect is seen dropping a bag near the point of the second explosion and heading off," Murphy said.

Separately, a law enforcement official who was not authorised to discuss the case publicly and spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity confirmed only that investigators had an image of a potential suspect whose name was not known to them and who had not been questioned.

Several media outlets reported that a suspect had been identified from surveillance video taken at a Lord & Taylor department store between the sites of the bomb blasts.

Living in fear

At least 14 bombing victims, including three children, remained in critical condition. Dozens of victims have been released from hospitals, and officials at three hospitals that treated some of the most seriously injured said they expected all their remaining patients to survive.

A 2-year-old boy with a head injury was improving and might go home on Thursday, Boston Children's Hospital said.

Boston remained under a heavy security presence, with scores of National Guard troops gathering among armoured Humvees in the Boston Common.

Kenya Nadry, a website designer, took her 5-year-old nephew to a playground.

"There's still some sense of fear, but I feel like Boston's resilient," she said.

Dr Horacio Hojman, associate chief of trauma at Tufts Medical Centre, said patients were in surprisingly good spirits when they were brought in.

"Despite what they witnessed, despite what they suffered, despite many of them having life-threatening injuries, their spirits were not broken," he said.

"And I think that should probably be the message for all of us - that this horrible act of terror will not bring us down."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  boston explosions

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