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April 18, 2013

FBI releases photos of marathon bombing suspects

Eds: Restores background, adds details. AP Video. With AP Photos.

BOSTON (AP) — The FBI released photos and video Thursday of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and asked for the public's help in identifying them, zeroing in on the two men on surveillance-camera footage less than three days after the deadly attack.

FBI agent Richard DesLauriers said the photos of the two men came from surveillance cameras near the explosion sites. One man is seen wearing a light-colored baseball cap, the other a dark cap. The man in the dark cap set down a backpack at the site of one of the blasts, DesLauriers said.

Within moments of the announcement, the FBI website crashed, perhaps because of a crush of visitors.

The images were released hours after President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended an interfaith service at a Roman Catholic cathedral in Boston to remember the three people killed and more than 180 wounded in the twin blasts Monday at the marathon finish line.

The break in the investigation came just days after the attack that tore off limbs, shattered windows and raised the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

The suspects are considered armed and extremely dangerous, DesLauriers said, and people who see them should not approach them.

"Do not take any action on your own," he warned.

Generally, law enforcement agencies release photos of suspects only as a last resort, when they need the public's help in identifying or capturing someone.

Releasing photos can be a mixed bag: It can tip off a suspect and deny police the element of surprise. It can also trigger an avalanche of tips, forcing police to waste valuable time chasing them down.

At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross earlier in the day, Obama declared to the people of Boston: "Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act." He spoke in almost mocking terms of those who commit such violence.

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