MARTIN Richard was a cheerful 8-year-old who was fond of riding his bike and scored the winning goal for his soccer team in a championship game last year. Krystle Campbell, 29, worked as an assistant manager at a steakhouse who had a knack for handling diners’ complaints with a smile. They were cheering on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon when two bombs went off, firing nails, ball bearings and shrapnel into the flesh of runners and spectators. The young boy and the assistant manager woman were the first two confirmed dead in the attack, which injured more than 170 people. The third fatality was a Chinese citizen who was enrolled at Boston University as a graduate student.
This was the first terrorist attack on the United States since the infamous 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. and stunned the nation. The FBI and state and local police swung into action following the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon; they have promised a “worldwide investigation” and have asked the public for tips and cell phone pictures that might yield clues about who was behind the horrific attack.
Meanwhile, to add fuel to the fire, a radical Egyptian Salafi cleric said that the terror attack in Boston this week was meant to send a message to the West, that terrorists are alive and well. Salem made the comments during an interview on Tahrir TV on April 16. “Obviously, I do not know who carried out that operation, but if it was done by the mujahideen, it serves as a message to America and the West: We are still alive,” he said, according to a news report. “Contrary to what you say, we have not died. The [Americans] wanted to send a message to the entire world that they had finished off the mujahideen – not just the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda, but the mujahideen all over the world. I do not know who carried out this attack, but if it was indeed the mujahideen, it was meant as a clear message to America and to the West,” continued Salem, who said the terror attack “was not up to the standards of Al-Qaeda. It was extremely amateurish. The standards of Al-Qaeda are much higher.” “They (bombers) have managed to get the message across: We can reach you whenever and wherever we want.” He said the attack could have been carried out by people born in America. He also warned that similar attacks could be expected in France, which led the first crusade. “France has accepted the banner of arrogance and enmity to Islam, so it will taste what it deserves,” he continued.
Muslims are not the only ones worried about a possible fallout of the incident. Boston is host to a thriving community of Indians, many of them students studying at Boston University. Many of these students posted messages on Facebook saying they were all right while others called their anxious families back in India to reassure them. Many schools upped their security and urged students to stay inside their residence halls and apartments on the day of the bombings. They also encouraged students to seek counseling as many of them tried to come to grips with what had happened.
Meanwhile, it emerged that Ajith Pai, an Indian American runner and his family escaped the twin bombings during the Boston Marathon as he finished the run about an hour before. But the family had to search each other for hours after the blasts, which caused anxiety among the family members. “We got in touch briefly to know they were okay,” Pai was quoted as saying. “They were on the other side of the finish line. They wouldn’t allow them to come where we were.” “The weather was fantastic. Everyone was in great spirits. The crowds were amazing. Everything was awesome. For this to happen was very sobering. I’m happy for my family and sad for those that weren’t so lucky,” Pai said.
So far no person or group has claimed responsibility for the blasts, but a CNN report indicated that investigators have pinpointed two men as “possible suspects” who were seen in images near the finish line of this week’s Boston Marathon-moments before twin bombs there exploded, killing three and injuring about 180 others, a law enforcement official said. The report said that “a circular sent out Wednesday to federal and state agencies features the photos “in an attempt to identify the individuals,” who were described as being of “high interest” to investigators.
Meanwhile, the London Marathon – the next major international marathon – is to go ahead on Sunday, with police saying they have well-rehearsed security plans. Organisers have said they will hold a 30-second silence at the start as a mark of respect to the victims of the Boston bombings.
Terror attacks on sporting events
The Palestinian group Black September murdered two Israeli athletes and kidnapped nine others during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
Marathon runners were attacked along the al-Budayyi’ Highway.
A 40-pound bomb in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park killed two and injured more than a hundred others.
Hours before a semi-final match between soccer rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona FC, a car bomb detonated near Bernabeu Stadium. There were no fatalities, but 17 people were injured.
A suicide bomber attacked outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi, where the New Zealand was staying before its match against Pakistan. Fourteen people were killed, including 11 French Navy experts, two Pakistanis and the Pakistan team’s physiotherapist.
In May, the country’s 15-member taekwondo team was kidnapped while travelling for a competition in Jordan. Thirteen bodies were found a year later in the desert.
Groups opposed to the men and women participating in the same marathon staged two arson attacks in Lahore. Two police officers and two civilians were injured.
A suicide bomber attacked a marathon celebrating the start of the country’s New Year, killing 15 athletes and injuring 90 others.
Gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team bus with guns, rockets and grenades while on its way to the ground for a match against Pakistan in Lahore. Six policemen and two civilians were killed and six players of the Sri Lankan team were seriously injured.
Two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 100 in what a White House official said would be treated as an “act of terror.”