President Obama: `American people refuse to be terrorized’

WASHINGTON—President Obama said Tuesday investigators do not know whether the bombs that killed three and wounded dozens at the Boston Marathon were an act of a single person or an organized group—or why they were planted—but that the ``American people refused to be terrorized.’’

The president said investigators are treating the episode as a terrorist act.

``Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror,’’ he said at a short briefing in the White House. The president took no questions.

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``We do not know whether this is an act of an organization, or an individual, or individuals. We don’t have a sense of motive yet,’’ he said.

Obama cited what he described as acts of heroism at the marathon finish line shortly after the bombs exploded, creating a chaotic and bloody scene. He lauded exhausted runners who ``kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood’’ or tore off their own clothes to make tourniquets for the wounded.

Earlier, US Senators opened their session Tuesday with condemnations of the Boston Marathon bombing attack, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that Americans have lowered their guard against terrorism to pre-Sept. 11, 2001 levels.

“The complacency that prevailed prior to September 11 has actually returned,” said McConnell, the Kentucky Republican. “And so we are newly reminded that serious threats to our way of life remain. And today again we recommit ourselves to the fight against terrorism at home and abroad.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed President Obama’s call to bring those responsible to justice and offered condolences to those affected.

“We are still reeling from the senseless violence at the Boston Marathon yesterday,” Reid said.

Reid said the Senate would move forward with its business and begin voting on amendments to gun-control legislation, which he pushed past the threat of a Republican-led filibuster last week.