Two explosions in Boston, Massachusetts killed at least three people and injured more than 140 on Monday, April 15. Both explosions occurred in the Boston Back Bay area at about 2:50 PM EDT (18:50 UTC). The blasts occurred near the finishing line of the Boston Marathon, some four hours into the race. One blast occurred near a sports store and the other close to a viewing stand, near 673 Boylston Street at the intersection of Boylston and Exeter. Details around the explosions are still incomplete but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a “criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”
The first explosion occurred on the north side of Boylston Street, about two hours after the winners of the marathon crossed the line. There was a second blast about thirteen seconds later, some 100 yards from the initial blast, according to reports. William Keating, a member of the congressional Homeland Security Committee, said two other unexploded devices were found near the finishing line site but were safely defused.
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Shortly after the blasts, a fire was reported a few miles away at the John F. Kennedy Library. However, police said the blaze is likely to have been caused by a mechanical problem and did not appear to be linked to the explosions. Security was stepped up in major cities across the United States, including New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. British police are also reviewing security plans for this weekend’s London Marathon following events in Boston.
TV footage showed bloodied runners and spectators being treated at the scene in the Boston Back Bay area. Local media reports said store fronts were blown out. At least 17 people were critically wounded in the blasts, officials say, and the injuries include several amputations. Many of the injured appeared to be spectators who were watching the race. Streets were littered with debris. Authorities closed transport networks in the affected areas following the blasts and the nearby Prudential Tower was evacuated. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also issued a no-fly order for low-flying aircraft within 3.5 miles of the affected area.
The FBI has launched a “criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.” Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said authorities had received no specific intelligence about a potential attack. No suspects are currently in custody but local media said a search thought to be related to the inquiry is under way at a property in the Boston suburb of Revere district.
White House officials and investigators said it was too early to determine whether the blasts were the work of foreign or homegrown groups (or individuals). The twin explosions come more than a decade after nearly 3,000 people were killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The incident is also the worst bombing on U.S. soil since far-right militant Timothy McVeigh detonated a massive truck bomb that destroyed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
Sources: Guy Carpenter, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, Agence France Presse, US Congressional Research Service
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