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Tight security for Independence Day

A worker installs a piece of security equipment on a lamp post on a bridge over the Charles River in BostonBOSTON — Security will be tighter than ever in several US cities during Independence Day celebrations this week, which will see some of the largest public gatherings in the country since the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April.

Security officials said they would deploy record numbers of police and install scores of new surveillance cameras and checkpoints around fireworks displays, concerts and other Fourth of July events in Boston, New York, Washington and Atlanta.

A foiled al Qaeda-inspired plot to detonate bombs in Canada’s Pacific coast city of Victoria during Monday’s Canada Day holiday — Canada’s equivalent to US Independence Day — has underscored the security concerns.

“The increase (in security) is, of course, related to the Marathon bombing and other global events,” said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police, noting that Boston’s Independence Day events were reportedly the Boston Marathon bombers’ initial target.

The National Explosives Task Force meanwhile said it has urged fireworks sellers in the US to report buyers who raise suspicion. The Boston bombers used materials from fireworks to build their bombs, as had a man convicted of attempting to bomb New York’s Times Square in 2010.

The NETF said in an industry advisory that fireworks sellers should look out for people with “injuries consistent with experimentation with explosives such as missing hand/fingers” or who are “making suspicious comments regarding radical theology, anti-US sentiment”.

Three people were killed and 264 injured when two pressure-cooker bombs loaded with shrapnel and fireworks-grade gunpowder exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, in the biggest attack on American soil since the September 11, 2001 attack on New York’s World Trade Centre towers. (Reuters)

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