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Three dead, over 100 hurt in Boston Marathon blasts


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Boston Police guard an area at the one mile checkpoint near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. — Photo by AFP

BOSTON: Two explosions struck one of America's top sporting events on Monday, killing at least three and wounding more than 100 as the Boston Marathon erupted in a maelstrom of blood, screams, smoke and panic. See gallery.

As cities from New York to Los Angeles went on high alert, Americans with ever-vivid memories of the September 11, 2001 suicide airliner attacks automatically wondered if the country had been hit again by terrorists.

President Barack Obama went on national television to say it was not yet clear who was behind the blasts. He said the perpetrators would pay. He did not utter the word “terror.”

We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts,” Obama said. “But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this.”

A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said later that “any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror.”

At the blast scene, a horrific chorus of high-pitched wailing and screaming rang out as bewildered runners and spectators fled the carnage and debris.

News reports said one of the fatalities was an eight-year-old boy and that some of the injured lost limbs. One woman told CNN the blast was the loudest sound she had ever heard, and it made the ground shake.

The thunderous blasts struck near the finish line of the marathon, long after the winners had crossed. Competitors who were still running when the blasts rocked downtown Boston were diverted elsewhere. Some 27,000 people were entered to take part in the event.

Video footage on American TV showed the moment when the first blast apparently struck: the detonation came on the left side of the course, behind spectators and a row of colorful national flags showing how runners come from around the world to take part.

Security people in yellow jackets threw their hands to their ears as the blast took place and at least one runner was thrown to the ground as white smoke billowed upward. The already waving flags whipped violently with the shockwave of the explosion.

Grisly accounts abounded. “We saw people with their legs blown off,” Mark Hagopian, owner of the Charlesmark Hotel, told AFP from the basement of a restaurant where he had sought shelter.

“A person next to me had his legs blown off at the knee — he was still alive.”

It was bad, it was fast,” he said. “There was a gigantic explosion... we felt wind on our faces... Police were saying: 'Get out, get out, leave, leave there may be more bombs.'”

Boston police Chief Ed Davis raised the death toll from two to three at a late evening news conference at which other officials fended off a barrage of questions about the investigation into the explosions.

FBI special agent Rick DesLauriers did say: “It is a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”

More than 100 were injured, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick said, without giving an exact figure. The Boston Globe said it was at least 125.

NBC News, citing officials, reported that police had found “multiple explosive devices” in Boston, raising the possibility of a coordinated attack.

The twin explosions come more than a decade after nearly 3,000 people were killed in airplane strikes on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

The sense of panic in the immediate aftermath of the blasts, and fear of more explosions, was so acute that Boston authorities urged people not to congregate in large crowds.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she believed the blasts were in fact an attack but it was unclear if the perpetrators were homegrown or foreign.

Asked if this was terrorism, she told reporters: “It looks that way.” Security was stepped up in New York and Washington — both sites of 9/11 attacks — as well as in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In the Big Apple, police said they were boosting security at hotels and “other prominent locations in the city.”

The blasts in Boston rattled US markets, sending the Dow and the S&P 500 down at the close.

The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest annual athletic events held in the United States. Racers must qualify to compete and there are tens of thousands of spectators.

The race attracts world-class athletes, most of whom would have likely completed the race a couple of hours before the blast went off. The video clip of the blast showed the marathon time clock at 4:09:44.

Hours later, the flag at the majestic white dome of the US Capitol in Washington was lowered in honor of the blast victims.

Comments (17) Closed

rohan Apr 16, 2013 04:57am
thousands will be killed by americans by name of revenge for 3 dead
Mohammad Farooq Apr 16, 2013 05:01am
Loss of innocent lives anywhere in the world is sad and tragic. We Pakistanis condemn these kind of acts very strongly.
Ahmed Apr 16, 2013 05:06am
Hope they dont blame Pakistan for it
Imtisal Apr 16, 2013 05:17am
I shouldnt be laughing at it but its hilarious that we have been witnessing these horrific events everyday. We are used to see these brutal deaths, lamenting infront of dead bodies . God its our jinxed that we are going through such a havoc and hard time. May Allah gives us patience to fight against terrorism and i feel bad about Boston Blasts and its very sad to see the deplorable condition of americans at the moment. Atleast they will feel the pain what we Pakistanis are going through.
Ejaz Apr 16, 2013 05:26am
This is a sad incident but hopefully this experience will make them realize what happens when a blast of bigger magnitude occur in third world countries like Pakistan.
Aethelbertus Rotundus Apr 16, 2013 05:56am
Sad day for Amreeka,but this is just a simple day of drone war in Pakistan.
Aethelbertus Rotundus Apr 16, 2013 05:57am
True enough. Why must it be this way???????
Jamshed Apr 16, 2013 06:43am
Let's hope there are no links with Pakistan. But don't bet against it.
Asad Ali Shah Apr 16, 2013 06:50am
The fact that this happened at a sporting event with 8 year old boy being killed is appalling. Even more appalling are some of the comments being happy at the fact that Americans will now feel the same pain as Pakistanis. True, but I have two small kids of my own... and I somehow don't really see how an 8 year old kid's death will benefit anyone
Atiq-Ur-rehman Apr 16, 2013 08:28am
Well Said. Atleast they will feel the pain what we Pakistanis are going through.
Pavas Ambashta Apr 16, 2013 08:52am
Sir, If everyone starts thinking like you then this world would become much happier and much safer place..
Stranger Apr 16, 2013 09:07am
I know US is not the most innocent of the countries but then killing innocents in that land is unpardanable.
Waraich Apr 16, 2013 09:10am
America has never appologized when drone strikes kill innocent children. If they have such a ruthless attitude why should we? They attacked and killed our innocent soldiers and we pleaded them for their sorry. What double standards.
Stagulard Apr 16, 2013 09:18am
Killing of innocents anywhere is unpardonable... hope they get caught & hanged.
Amit Singh Apr 16, 2013 09:37am
Act of Terrorism in any part of the world weather it is in Pakistan, Afghanistan, America or in India is not acceptable. We should think what kind of world we will give to our future generation. If we don't stop it they will never forgive us.................
Grieving Sincerely Apr 17, 2013 08:31am
Yes, I strongly agree with what you have said However, when I hear of such horrendous acts of terrorism anywhere in the world, my mind automatically start thinking about all those people who have suffered due to loss of their loved, innocent ones in Pakistan because of random bomb blasts, drone attacks. We all have lost someone, we have loved, respected during the last 10 years in Pakistan. I grieve for the families who have suffered in Bostan yesterday and Pakistan during yesterday
Elaine Apr 18, 2013 03:33am
No, Imtisal, you should not be laughing. I understand that you would want others to understand your pain, but there is no good reason for you to want others to feel the same pain. When I lost my boy at the age of 10, one of my first thoughts was of the many Iraqi families who had lost so much more than me. But I would not have wanted anyone to have to go through what I went through.