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BOSTON – Two bombs exploded Monday in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 130 in a terrifying scene of shattered glass, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs at the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon, authorities said.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the end of the 42-km course.
At the White House, President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice.”
A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism.
Authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the bombings, and police said they had no suspects in custody. Authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility. The FBI took charge of the investigation.
The fiery twin blasts took place almost simultaneously and about 100 meters apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the course.
When the second bomb went off, the spectators’ cheers turned to screams. As sirens blared, emergency workers and National Guardsmen assigned to the race for crowd control began climbing over and tearing down temporary fences to get to the blast site.
A pool of blood formed, and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.
Boston police said three people were killed. Hospitals reported at least 134 injured, at least 15 of them critically. The injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to amputations. Many victims suffered lower leg injuries and shrapnel wounds. Some suffered ruptured eardrums.
The Boston Marathon honored the victims of the December shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, with a special mile marker in Monday’s race.