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Twin blasts at Boston Marathon; 3 dead, over 140 hurt

Last updated on: April 16, 2013 10:32 IST

Twin blasts at Boston Marathon; 3 dead, over 140 hurt

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In an apparent terror attack, two bomb explosions ripped through the cheering crowd at the finish line of the popular Boston Marathon, killing at least three people and injuring over 140.

The two blasts occurred within seconds on a sidewalk along the 42-kilometre route of the Boston Marathon, where thousands of people had lined up to cheer on the marathoners.

Though there was no clue as to who was behind the explosions, a White House official said they were approaching the blasts as an act of terror.

"Any event with multiple explosive devices, as this appears to be, is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"However, we don't yet know who carried out the attack and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic," the official said.

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Image: Runners continue to run towards the finish line of the Boston Marathon as an explosion erupts near the finish line of the race in this photo exclusively licensed to Reuters by photographer Dan Lampariello after he took the photo in Boston, Massachusetts
Photographs: Dan Lampariello/Reuters

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Three people were killed in the two powerful explosions that detonated in quick succession, The Boston Globe reported.

Hospitals reported at least 144 people are being treated, with at least 17 of them in critical condition and 25 in serious condition. At least eight of the patients are children.

Media reports quoted law enforcement sources as saying that the dead included an 8-year-old boy.

The authorities also found two devices at two other locations in the city, but they did not explode.

Several mega cities in the US, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, have been put on alert.

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Image: A runner in a wheelchair is taken from a triage tent after explosions went off at the 117th Boston Marathon in Boston
Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

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Twin blasts at Boston Marathon; 3 dead, over 140 hurt

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FBI special agent in charge Richard DesLauriers told media persons in Boston that the investigation into the blasts is an "ongoing and criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation."

US President Barack Obama, describing the act as "senseless", affirmed that the perpetrators "will feel the full weight of justice."

A Saudi national with a leg wound was under guard at a Boston hospital in connection with the bombings, but investigators cannot say he is involved at this time and he is not in custody, a law enforcement official was quoted by CNN as saying.

Media reports also said that police is on the lookout for a "darker-skinned or black male" in connection with the attack.

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Image: Public safety officials evacuate the scene after several explosions near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon in Boston
Photographs: Neal Hamberg/Reuters

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Twin blasts at Boston Marathon; 3 dead, over 140 hurt

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The reports quoted a law enforcement advisory as saying that investigators have warned police to be on the lookout for a "darker-skinned or black male" with a possible foreign accent in connection with the attack.

The man was seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area about five minutes before the first explosion near the finish line of the annual Boston marathon yesterday afternoon, the lookout notice obtained by CNN said.

President Obama was briefed on the explosions by Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco.

Obama said those responsible are yet to be identified, and cautioned that "people should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts."

"But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this and we'll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice," Obama said.

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Image: People comfort each other after explosions went off at the 117th Boston Marathon in Boston
Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

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Twin blasts at Boston Marathon; 3 dead, over 140 hurt

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Obama did not say whether the blasts were a terror attack.

The two blasts created chaos and havoc as runners and spectators scrambled to escape the venue. Blood and debris was strewn on the sidewalks near the finish line of the marathon.

The blasts occurred in the heart of Boston city, an area dotted with popular tourist destinations, bars, luxury shops, restaurants and busy hotels.

The bomb was apparently placed in a garbage can and exploded just as the last of the nearly 27,000 marathoners were approaching the finish line.

The marathon is held annually on the Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April, a state holiday in Massachusetts.

The blasts occurred as thousands of spectators lined the sidewalks to cheer on the marathoners.

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Several runners collapsed on the ground due to the impact of the blasts which tore through the windows of buildings nearby.

"It was just immediately (evident) there were injuries, right in the middle of the spectator crowds," said sports producer Steve Silva, who was on the scene to cover the race.

"There was blood everywhere; there were victims being carried out on stretchers. I saw someone lose their leg. People are crying. People are confused," Silva, who captured one of the explosions on video, said moments after the blasts.

Shortly after the blasts, a fire broke out at a local library, raising suspicion of a possible third blast.

However, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis later said that based on preliminary investigation, it came out that the incident at the library "may not have been an explosion (but) a fire."

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Image: A woman talks on the phone after two explosions interrupted the running of the Boston Marathon in Boston
Photographs: Dominick Reuter/Reuters

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The FBI said its Boston division remains on the scene of the bombings.

"A multi-agency response including state and federal law enforcement agencies has been activated and is investigating the cause of the explosions along the Boston route and elsewhere," the FBI said.

"The FBI's Boston Division stands with the Boston Police Department and remains on-scene. The situation remains fluid and it remains too early to establish the cause and motivation," it said.

Allan Panter, a doctor who was near the finish line waiting for his wife to finish the race, told CNN he was standing about 20 to 25 feet from the first blast. He said he treated victims on the street after the explosion.

"I saw at least six to seven people down next to me," he said. "They protected me from the blast. One lady expired. One gentleman lost both his (lower) limbs. Most of the injuries were lower extremities."

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Image: Unclaimed runner's bags from the Boston Marathon are seen in Boston
Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

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