Obama says Boston bombings an act of terrorism

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama

pronounced the deadly Boston Marathon explosions an act of terrorism on

Tuesday as

individuals close to the investigation said the two bombs were

made of pressure cookers packed with ball bearings and metal

shards that cut into the victims.

Speaking at the White House, Obama said

investigators do not know if the attack was carried out by an

international or domestic

organization, or perhaps by a "malevolent individual." Three

people were killed, including an 8 year-old boy, and more than

170 were wounded.

In his second public statement in less than 24 hours since the explosions, the president said, "Clearly we are at the beginning

of our investigation." He urged anyone with information relating to the events to contact authorities.

Individuals briefed on the probe said the

two bombs were made up of pressure cookers, one packed with ball

bearings and the

other with shards of metal, presumably to inflict maximum

injuries. The bombs were placed inside black duffel bags on the

ground near the finish line of the annual race, they said,

speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation remains

active and they were not authorized to be quoted by name.

Obama said investigators "don't have a sense of motivation yet" as they begin to evaluate the attack.

Despite the loss of life and limb, Obama declared, "The American people refuse to be terrorized."

As he had on Monday, he said those responsible for the attacks would be brought to justice.

The president had avoided labeling the

incident a terrorist attack when he stood at the same White House

lectern shortly after

the explosions. Members of Congress quickly concluded on Monday

afternoon that's what it was, and White House officials said

the FBI was investigating the attack as a terror incident.

The administration's public assessment began to shift when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress in a morning appearance

that the attacks were "a cruel act of terror."

Appearing on television a short while afterward, Obama said the events in Boston were a "heinous cowardly act, and given what

we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism."

"Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror. What we don't 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's what we don't yet know."

The president praised those who had come to the aid of the injured.

"If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that's it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid,"

he said.

Obama stepped to the microphone after receiving a briefing at the White House from Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland

Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other top aides.

The bombs exploded on Monday afternoon near the finish line of the famed Boston Marathon, an annual 26 mile race through the

neighborhoods of the city.

Obama's Remarks

Good morning, everybody. I've just been

briefed by my national security team, including FBI Director Mueller,

Attorney General

Holder, Secretary Napolitano, and my Counterterrorism and Homeland

Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, on the attacks in Boston.

We continue to mobilize and deploy all appropriate law enforcement

resources to protect our citizens, and to investigate and

to respond to this attack.

Obviously our first thoughts this morning

are with the victims, their families, and the city of Boston. We know

that two explosions

gravely wounded dozens of Americans, and took the lives of others,

including a 8-year-old boy.

This was a heinous and cowardly act. And

given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating

it as an act

of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians

it is an act of terror. What we don't 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's what we don't

yet know. And clearly, we're at the beginning of our investigation.

It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened. But we will find out. We will find whoever harmed our

citizens and we will bring them to justice.

We also know this— the American people

refuse to be terrorized. Because what the world saw yesterday in the

aftermath of the

explosions were stories of heroism and kindness, and generosity

and love: exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest

hospital to give blood, and those who stayed to tend to the

wounded, some tearing off their own clothes to make tourniquets.

The first responders who ran into the chaos to save lives. The men

and women who are still treating the wounded at some of

the best hospitals in the world, and the medical students who

hurried to help, saying "When we heard, we all came in." The

priests who opened their churches and ministered to the hurt and

the fearful. And the good people of Boston who opened their

homes to the victims of this attack and those shaken by it.

So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil— that's it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid.

In the coming days, we will pursue every

effort to get to the bottom of what happened. And we will continue to

remain vigilant.

I've directed my administration to take appropriate security

measures to protect the American people. And this is a good time

for all of us to remember that we all have a part to play in

alerting authorities— if you see something suspicious, speak

up.

I have extraordinary confidence in the men

and women of the FBI, the Boston Police Department, and the other

agencies that

responded so heroically and effectively in the aftermath of

yesterday's events. I'm very grateful for the leadership of Governor

Patrick and Mayor Menino. And I know that even as we protect our

people and aggressively pursue this investigation, the people

of Boston will continue to respond in the same proud and heroic

way that they have thus far— and their fellow Americans will

be right there with them.

Thank you very much. And you can expect

further briefings from our law enforcement officials as the day goes on.

When we have

more details, they will be disclosed. What I've indicated to you

is what we know now. We know it was bombs that were set off.

We know that obviously they did some severe damage. We do not know

who did them. We do not know whether this was an act of

an organization or an individual or individuals. We don't have a

sense of motive yet. So everything else at this point is

speculation. But as we receive more information, as the FBI has

more information, as our out counterterrorism teams have more

information, we will make sure to keep you and the American people

posted.

Thank you very much, everybody.