Security will be tighter than ever in several U.S. 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, install scores of new surveillance cameras and search checkpoints at fireworks displays, concerts and other Fourth of July events in Boston, New York, Washington and Atlanta.
The National Explosives Task Force has urged fireworks sellers in the U.S. to report buyers who raise suspicion, according to an industry advisory.
The Boston Marathon bombers had used materials from fireworks bought at a store to build bombs, as had a man convicted of attempting to bomb Times Square in New York in 2010.
"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 bombers' initial target.
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 Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York's World Trade Center towers.Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two brothers suspected of carrying out the attack on the marathon, had originally planned to set off their homemade bombs on July 4, but attacked earlier because they had made the devices sooner than expected, law enforcement officials have said.
Boston's Independence Day events include concerts and a fireworks display along the city's waterfront that traditionally attracts a half million people.
A federal indictment says Tamerlan - who was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing - purchased 48 mortars containing some eight pounds of low-explosive gun powder from a fireworks store in New Hampshire in February.