Boston Marathon blasts put world's cities on alert

By Paisley Dodds

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 16 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Police Col. Heinz Felbermayr told reporters that his units are "totally prepared" for any eventuality, adding that while the Boston bombings should not be downplayed in relation to Linz "they also should not be overly dramatized."

But organizers of the Hamburg Marathon said they did not plan any changes to their security measures for this Sunday's race. Hamburg police said they already have tight security for the marathon with 400 officers on hand.

Madrid authorities said Tuesday they will be meeting next week to decide if extra security measures are needed for the April 28 marathon.

Russian officials gave mixed signals Tuesday over whether they needed to increase security at key sporting events like the World Athletics Championship and the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The track and field championship, which takes place in Moscow on Aug. 10-18, is seen as a dress rehearsal for the Olympic games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

One top sports official said security was being beefed up but others said Russia's take on Olympic security was already very robust.

Officials will speak with the organizers of the Boston marathon to find out what more security precautions are needed, Mikhail Butov, secretary general of the Russian Athletics Federation, said Tuesday, adding that "when it's clear what actually happened (in Boston), we will draw our own conclusions."

Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev told the Interfax news agency that the Boston bombings on Monday revealed "problems" in ensuring security at outdoors events and expressed concern that it may inspire "other organizers of terrorist attacks."

Police and security services in Moscow are gearing up for "all possible emergencies" even though the athletics championships will be held in a confined space indoors at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Rio Olympic organizers said security would be "a top priority" as the city prepares for the 2016 Games.

The French Interior Ministry ordered local authorities across France to reinforce security measures already in place since the January intervention in the African nation of Mali began.

In New York, authorities deployed so-called critical response teams— highly visible patrol units that move in packs with lights and sirens, — along with more than 1,000 counterterrorism officers. Highly trafficked areas like the Empire State building, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the United Nations and the World Trade Center site were being especially monitored.

In Washington, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano urged the American public "to be vigilant and to listen to directions from state and local officials."

At the White House, the Secret Service expanded its security perimeter after the attacks, shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue and cordoning off the area with yellow police tape. Several Secret Service patrol cars blocked off entry points, although the White House was not on lockdown and tourists and other onlookers were still allowed in the park across the street.

Security was also tightened at sports venues across the U.S., though most events were held as planned.

The exceptions were in Boston itself, where Monday night's NHL game between the Bruins and Ottawa Senators was postponed and Tuesday's NBA game between the Celtics and Indiana Pacers was canceled.

Officials announced plans for security reviews of upcoming marathons and road races in cities large and small.

Race officials for the Illinois Marathon in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois, said they were already fielding calls from worried runners and their families and planned to meet Wednesday to discuss more security measures such as bomb-sniffing dogs.

Associated Press reporters Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow, Colleen Long in New York, Tami Abdollah in Los Angeles, Brett Zongker in Washington, Cassandra Vinograd, Raphael Satter and Danica Kirka in London, Jenny Barchfield in Rio, Juliet Williams in Sacramento, George Jahn in Vienna, David McHugh in Berlin, Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Jason Dearen in San Francisco, and David Mercer in Champaign, Illinois, contributed to this report.

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