President Obama, who will travel to Boston to speak at a service for victims of Monday’s bombing, on Tuesday called the deadly attack a “heinous and cowardly act” of terrorism.
“Given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism,” Mr. Obama said after receiving a briefing from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III at the White House. “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”
On Monday night, after the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Mr. Obama called the attack “senseless” but refrained from describing it as terrorism.
Mr. Obama will speak Thursday at an interfaith service for the victims, canceling a visit Friday at the University of Kansas, where he was to speak about the economy.
The president said authorities don’t yet know “who carried out this attack or why, whether it was planned by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual.”
“Clearly we’re at the beginning of our investigation,” Mr. Obama said. “We do not know who did [the bombings]. We do not know if this is an act of an organization, or individual or individuals, we don’t have a sense of motive yet. Everything else at this point is speculation. We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice.”
The president praised the actions of first-responders, marathon runners and bystanders who came to the aid of victims of the twin blasts.
“The American people refuse to be terrorized,” Mr. Obama said. “If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it — selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”
He said law enforcement will pursue every lead to find those responsible for the attacks.
“We all have a part to play in alerting authorities if you see something suspicious. Speak up,” the president said.