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Boston bombing Swiss president sends condolences to Obama

About 6,000 Boston Marathon runners did not finish the race due to the attacks

(Keystone)

Swiss president Ueli Maurer has sent a letter of condolence to US President Barack Obama after Monday’s bomb attacks in downtown Boston during the city’s iconic marathon, in which three people were killed and over 170 injured.

He expressed his sympathy to those affected and to their families, the Swiss News agency reported.

Earlier on Tuesday Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, speaking to Switzerland’sHouse of Representatives, condemned the attacks with the “utmost determination” and called for international resolve against terrorism.

Lukas Wyniger, a runner and radio DJ from Switzerland who took part in this year’s marathon, told the 20 Minuten newspaper that his thoughts didn’t immediately turn to an attack upon hearing one of the bombs explode; however, when he saw “blind panic” in spectators’ eyes, he realised something had gone terribly wrong.
 
“Suddenly I saw all the people running toward me from the finish line in a panic,” he said. “By then, my thoughts had turned to 9/11.”
 
Wyniger was one of 46 Swiss reported to have entered the marathon, which attracted some 23,000 runners and more than 500,000 spectators. Of the Swiss competitors, 39 completed the race, including three in wheelchairs.
 
As far as the Swiss foreign ministry has been able to ascertain, no Swiss were among the dead or injured, the Swiss News Agency reported on Tuesday. Two specialist travel agencies which had arranged travel for some of the Swiss competitors said that all their clients were safe.
 
There has been no claim of responsibility. Neither a suspect nor a motive for the attacks has been identified. On Tuesday President Barack Obama called the bombings an "act of terror", but said it was not clear yet whether the blasts were the work of a foreign or domestic group or of a "malevolent individual."
 
He called on Americans to be vigilant and to watch for “suspicious activity”.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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