By BosNewsLife Americas Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
BOSTON, USA (BosNewsLife)– Amid calls for prayers, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday, April 16, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating Monday’s deadly bombings in Boston as an “act of terrorism”, but cautioned it remained unknown who was behind the blasts.
Obama identified an eight-year-old boy as being among the three people who died in the attacks that rocked the city, and pledged that those responsible for this “heinous” crime would be brought to justice. Later, a second victim was named as 29-year-old restaurant owner Krystle Campbell. About 170 people, including children were injured.
The president, who had held off using the term “terrorism” in brief remarks on Monday night, spoke again after being briefed by FBI Director Robert Mueller and other officials on Tuesday morning. “Given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism,” Obama said. “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”
The president’s brief, somber appearance at the White House, came while Christian leaders urged prayers and prepared to respond to the crisis in a nation still reeling from the September 11, 2001, attacks, BosNewsLife learned.
The two main blasts near the finish of the annual Boston Marathon, were sending authorities out on the course to carry away the injured while runners in the 26.2-mile race (41 kilometers) were rerouted away from the smoking site, witnesses said.
The pressure cooker bombs were hidden in duffel bags packed with nails, shards of metal and ball bearings and placed on the ground, near the finishing stretch of the Boston Marathon route, a source close to the investigation has disclosed.
Earlier reports of a third explosion at the JFK Library in the city was later declared “a fire” and not related to the other blasts, said the Christian Emergency Network (CEN) which unites Christian volunteers, community leaders and emergency professionals “in equipping the Church to be aware and ready to respond in emergencies large and small.”
CEN told BosNewsLife in a statement that Boston remains “in deep need.” The organization said it supports a prayer initiative for “families directly affected with sudden loss of life and injury physically and emotionally.”
Additionally CEN said the ‘National Day of Prayer Task Force’ , as the initiative is known, also provided prayer points for “Medical and counseling teams treating and serving the injured and their families” and “First responders to be protected and guided in their service to this urgent tragedy.”
Church leaders were also praying for “Protection and wisdom for all investigative personnel from Homeland Security, law enforcement agencies and fire departments.” Additional prayer points were for “Christian pastors, ministries and residents to reach out with the ready hope and help we have in our Living God [as ] Psalms 46: 10 says ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’,” CEN said.
And, prayers were asked for ongoing “efforts to keep…streets, cities, and borders safe for this nation’s citizens both now and in the future.”
‘SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL KIT’
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), named after its elderly founder, agreed. It republished a statement by evangelist Graham who said:… “To have resources in our possession for a day of disaster, we need to have a spiritual survival kit: God’s storehouse of supplies for us.”
But, he cautioned, “we must meet some requirements before we can receive the abundance: First, we need to make sure of our relationship to God. We must be prepared to meet God at any moment. ”
President Obama, in his first remarks hours after the blasts, also spoke about the need for prayers. On Tuesday, September 16, Obama added however that America’s spirit would not be broken. He spoke of the “heroism and kindness and generosity and love” of those who rushed to help in the aftermath of the twin bombings near the finish line of Boston Marathon.
And he recalled the “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.” He added: “So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it. Selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”
Many questions remain. “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,” the president admitted Tuesday, April 16.
“Clearly, we’re at the beginning of our investigation,” but he said investigators will learn what happened and why: “We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice.”
Regardless of who carried out the attack, Obama said, “the American people refuse to be terrorized.” Shortly before his remarks, Obama ordered flags at the White House and other government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of Monday’s attack.