WASHINGTON - Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be put to death if he is found guilty of planting bombs that killed three people and wounded 264 last year, the US government's chief prosecutor said on Thursday.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that he was authorizing trial prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, who is charged with committing one of the largest attacks on US soil since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said.

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