UAE runner describes horror of Boston bombings
Investigators in white jumpsuits work the crime scene on Boylston Street following Monday's bomb attack at the Boston Marathon. (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images/AFP)
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A UAE resident who took part in the Boston Marathon has told of the horror she witnessed just minutes after crossing the finishing line.
Two bombs went off seconds apart at Monday’s race, one of the world’s most historic, leaving the streets spattered with blood and glass and at least three people dead, including an eight-year-old boy.
Dubai runner Debbie Powell told 7DAYS: “When I finished I was not feeling too good so I proceeded to the medical tent for assistance, which is 5m away from the finish line. I was in the tent when the blasts happened.”
The 42-year-old British expat said she immediately got off the bed to make space for victims being brought in by rescue crews.
“The scenes of these poor, innocent spectators who were stood at the finishing line to applaud their loved ones, being stretchered in covered in blood was something that I have only seen on the news or at the movies. Just awful,” said a shaken Powell, who is chairperson of the ABRaS AC, a Dubai-based athletics club primarily focused on endurance running. She insisted the attack would not stop her or others from running next year.
“Many Dubai-based runners achieved the qualifying for next year’s marathon and I know this cowardly act will not stop them coming to Boston to run in what is known to be the oldest marathon in existence,” she added.
Powell’s running buddy in Dubai, Angeline Wehbe said she had stayed up most of the night watching the news and checking on her traumatised friend.
“When I saw the news, I immediately messaged Debbie and, thankfully, she responded instantly, saying she was fine and back in her hotel room. But she was clearly shaken,” said Wehbe. “For me it hit quite close to home because I ran Boston in 2010 so I know exactly where the bombs went off.”
Determined to put on a show of solidarity for Boston, Wehbe is refusing to cave in to the fear of terrorist attacks and will run the London Marathon this weekend.
“I’m not afraid. I know that London will step up to the challenge,” she said.
Meanwhile, UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, denounced the deadly bombing and expressed his sincere condolences to the US government and families of the victims. “The UAE condemns such terrorism and criminal acts,” he said. The US described the attack yesterday as an “act of terror” but it was not known who carried out the bombings’
London -British police are reviewing security plans for Sunday’s London Marathon, the next major international long-distance race. However, there was no known specific or credible threat against the marathon at the moment, a security official said.
Police already were also preparing a major security operation for yesterday’s ceremonial funeral for former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. The plans call for a procession through the streets of London, with Thatcher’s flag-draped coffin to be carried on a horse-drawn carriage.The funeral’s security arrangements are expected to be reviewed in light of the Boston attack. London has long been considered a top target for terrorists.
New York- Mark Wahlberg was in a sombre mood at the New York premiere of his new film, ‘Pain and Gain’ - still grappling with the tragedy that struck his hometown of Boston. He said: “I really didn’t even want to come tonight. I hadn’t really heard much - I spoke to my mom, and most of my family seems to be OK. It’s such a big event, there’s so many people there. It’s horrible.” He added: “My heart goes out to the families and the victims. I don’t know who caused it, just like everyone else... If it was terrorism, people are going to need to know they’re not going to stop us. We’re not going to be afraid.”
Vatican City - Pope Francis said he was “deeply grieved by the news of the loss of life and grave injuries” caused by two bomb blasts. Francis expressed his condolences in a message addressed to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, a good friend of Francis’ from the pope’s time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Francis called on Bostonians to “be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil but to combat evil with good” and to work together “to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come”.
Pakistan - The Pakistani Taliban yesterday denied any role in the bombings. The main focus of the group has been a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani government because of its alliance with the US and to enforce Islamic law in the country. But the group has threatened attacks in the US as well, and claimed responsibility for a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square in 2010.
Egypt - The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the bombings, saying that Sharia law does not condone violence against civilians. A statement yesterday from the extremist group’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, expressed “condolences to the American people and to the families of victims, with hopes for a quick recovery of those injured”.
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