One of the world’s most widely viewed sporting events, the annual Boston Marathon, was attacked on Tuesday, more than four hours into it, and after some runners had completed the race. Two bombs exploded close together near the finishing line, killing a child and two adults. Well over a hundred were injured, many severely. Hospital sources said they carried out amputations.
President Obama made this statement: “I’ve directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States, as necessary, and investigate what happened.”
The White House said the bombings would be treated as “an act of terror”. Emergency and security forces in Boston and other cities surged, notably in Washington and New York. The bombing brought back memories of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to many people’s minds.
Witnesses said: “We saw the first bomb go off, and people, sorry, blow up in the street and then the one further down.”
“There were families all around us with kids yelling and screaming, I mean….”
“It was loud, it was really, really loud, and then just people, chaos everywhere.”
The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon happened 12 years ago. 9/11 saw 3,000 lives lost, staggering the nation. That was the worst death toll to terrorism the United States has ever suffered, at foreign hands – Islamist enemies.
But the US has also been attacked from within. Six years before 9/11, far-right militant and US citizen Timothy McVeigh set off a truck packed with explosives in front of a federal government building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding more than 500.
The same movement killed two and wounded 112 one year later, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
There is some speculation that an American anti-government group cherishing the constitutional right to bear arms and against Washington’s fiscal policies might be behind the Boston attacks, which came on Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.
Mark Davis, euronews. “We are joined now by our US correspondent Stefan Grobe, who is in Boston at the entrance to Boylston Street where both explosions took place yesterday. Stefan, what’s the atmosphere in downtown Boston right now? What’s going on there?”
Stefan Grobe, Boston: “Well Mark this is a very, very strange atmosphere. On the one hand the city is still under shock but on the other hand as you can see around me there are signs of what appears to be normal activity.
‘There are still most of the runners here present in Boston. I have spoken to some of the European runners who were there yesterday they said they are still sticking to their travel plans. They want to stay here until the weekend and enjoy the rest of their stay here in Boston. So very, very mixed feeling in Boston right now.”
euronews: “The FBI and the head of Homeland Security have spoken. They say they have no suspects, they don’t know if this is the work of home-grown or foreign terrorists. What do we know, Stefan?”
Stefan Grobe: “The authorities here are really at the absolute starting point.
Now they are looking in to a lot of various issues here. They are monitoring video surveillance cameras, they are checking photographs, they are checking videos, privately taken videos. They are doing a lot of things but so far there is no clear lead here.”
euronews: “President Obama yesterday warned against jumping to conclusions. Many Americans, understandably, will have. What do you think is more frightening for Americans, a domestic or a foreign threat?”
Stefan Grobe: “Well this is the fifty-million dollar question. It is absolutely, very difficult to say what is more difficult for Americans. Is it a another al-Qaeda related attack or is it home-grown, a home made attack by an American terrorist? What comes to mind of course is the Oklahoma city bombing back in 1995 which came as a big shock to Americans.
‘On the other hand we all know the tragedy of 9/11. And Americans have believed these days were over that for more than 10 years there has been some sort of normalcy, you know a creeping into their lives after the fear, after the tragedy and now they are realising that terror is back and all the difficult times and all the difficult thoughts are back so it’s very, very difficult to say what Americans wish. A foreign or a domestic attack.”
euronews: “Stefan Grobe in Boston thanks very much for joining us we will hear from you soon.”
Stefan Grobe: “Thank you Mark!”