Boston Marathon blasts: Israelis taught the hospital teams how to respond to such attacks

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Hours following the Boston Marathon blasts that left 3 dead and up to 176 wounded, a chief doctor at the hospital where many of the patients are being treated credited Israelis with teaching his team how to respond to such attacks.

“About two years ago in actual fact we asked the Israelis to come across and they helped us set up our disaster team so that we could respond in this kind of manner,” said Alasdair Conn, Chief of Emergency Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, in response to a question about the preparedness of his staff to handle trauma on this scale.

Earlier in the interview Conn was asked, “Would you characterize these as almost something you would see in a military setting?”

“Oh absolutely, absolutely this is like a bomb explosion that we hear about in the news in Baghdad, or Israel or some other tragic place in the world,” he said.

The doctor updated reporters on the horrific nature of the injuries sustained by the victims and the steps his team was taking to treat them.

While little concrete information is available about who was responsible for the attack, the New York Post reported that, “Law enforcement sources confirmed to The Post that authorities have identified a suspect, a Saudi national.” Authorities however later denied the reports.

Investigators said their hunt for suspects and a motive in the attack on the Boston Marathon was “wide open” and disclosed the first details about the two bombs — explosives housed in metal containers, concealed in bags and packed with tiny nails to maximize the carnage.

The lead investigator for the FBI, Richard DesLauriers, made a passionate plea for help from the public: “Someone knows who did this.”

Investigators have begun the process of recovering tiny pieces of bombs to learn how they were made. So far, they know the bombs were made from pressure cookers filled with ball bearings and nails – a method used for decades in terror bombings. But no suspects are in custody and investigators are asking the public for help. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

The bombs, which exploded near the finish line of the marathon, appeared to have contained fine nails, smaller than the ones used to hang pictures, or brads.

The devices, at least one in a kitchen pressure cooker, appear to have been delivered to the marathon course in duffel bags.