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Obama convenes security meeting on Boston bombing

Updated: 2013-04-21 06:17
( Xinhua)

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Saturday convened a meeting of the National Security Council to review the events related to the Boston Marathon bombing and discuss the ongoing investigation of its causes.

Obama was briefed by top security officials on Friday night's capture of the second bombing suspect, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the investigation of the terrorist attack, and ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, the White House said in a statement.

The officials attending the 90-minute meeting included Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, Attorney General Eric Holder, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Vice President Joe Biden joined the meeting via video-conference.

"The President commended the work that was done to pursue justice in the Boston Marathon bombing, and underscored the need to continue gathering intelligence to answer the remaining questions about this terrorist attack going forward," the statement said.

Twin explosions occurred Monday afternoon near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. Police later identified two brothers, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev, as suspects behind the bombings and launched a massive manhunt for them since Monday.

Tamerlan was killed Thursday night in a shootout with the police while Dzhokar managed to escape in a car. The shootout also left a police officer on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology dead and one more traffic police officer seriously injured.

On Friday night, security forces announced that Dzhokar was apprehended after being cornered in a boat in Watertown, about eight kilometers to the west of Boston. He was rushed to hospital for treatment of serious wounds.

It remained unknown as for the motives behind the bombings, though US officials suspect the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens who emigrated to the US more than a decade ago and are naturalized as US citizens, might have been affected by or related to radical jihadism. Media reports said the FBI once interviewed Tamerlan back in 2011 at request of Russian officials, who doubted he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer.

The focus of the ongoing investigation is placed on Tamerlan's six-month visit to Russia last year, during which he visited Chechnya and Dagestan, the predominantly Muslim republics in the north Caucasus region of Russia. Obama on Friday conversed over the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the Boston marathon bombings, pledging to continue bilateral anti- terrorism cooperation.

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