April 16, 2013

Terror in Boston

Bomb blasts at the marathon finish line kill three, injure more than 140 and leave a bloody scene described as 'what we expect from war'

By JIMMY GOLEN/The Associated Press

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Runners continue to run towards the finish line as an explosion erupts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon
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Runners approach the finish line of the Boston Marathon just as an explosion erupts Monday, one of two that took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart. The blasts knocked spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattered windows and sent dense plumes of smoke rising over the street. As many as two unexploded bombs also were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, said a senior U.S. intelligence official.

Reuters/Dan Lampariello

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Additional Photos Below

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads methodically checked parcels and bags left along the race route. He said investigators didn't know whether the bombs were hidden in mailboxes or trash cans.

Davis said authorities had received "no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen" at the race.

"We still don't know who did this or why," Obama said at the White House, adding, "Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this."

In Washington, security was tightened as a precaution around the White House and Capitol. Both chambers of Congress held moments of silence during floor sessions.

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that based on initial reports, the bombings "bear the hallmarks of a terrorist attack."

Collins, a Republican, received several unclassified briefings on the unfolding situation in Boston, according to her staff. Both Collins and King, an independent, will likely hear the latest updates on the investigation into the bombings on Tuesday, when the Intelligence Committee receives a classified briefing.

The pair released a joint statement Monday evening.

"Like all Americans, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the deplorable and heinous act of violence that occurred at the Boston Marathon today," King and Collins said. "As we struggle to comprehend this senseless tragedy, and as we continue to gather more information, we hold the families and the loved ones of those lost firmly in our thoughts, and we continue to pray for the full recovery of everyone who has been injured. As members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we will be continually updated of the situation."

Maine Gov. Paul LePage called the bombings in Boston "horrific acts of violence" and said he and his wife were sending their thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured.

The first explosion occurred on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the finish line, and some people initially thought it was a celebratory cannon blast.

When the second bomb went off, spectators' cheers turned to screams. As sirens blared, emergency workers and National Guardsmen who had been assigned to the race for crowd control began climbing over and tearing down temporary fences to get to the blast site.

The bombings occurred about four hours into the race and two hours after the men's winner crossed the finish line. By that point, more than 17,000 of the athletes had finished the marathon, but thousands more were still running.

The attack may have been timed for maximum carnage: The four-hour mark is typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady recreational runners completing the race and because of all the friends and relatives clustered around to cheer them on.

Runners in the medical tent for treatment of dehydration or other race-related ills were pushed out to make room for victims of the bombing.

A woman who was a few feet from the second bomb, Brighid Wall, 35, of Duxbury, said that when it exploded, runners and spectators froze, unsure of what to do. Her husband threw their children to the ground and lay on top of them, and another man lay on top of them and said, "Don't get up, don't get up."

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Additional Photos

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People react to the second explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday.

The Associated Press

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Emergency responders tend to injured people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon after Monday’s explosions. Three people were killed and more than 140 were injured.

The Associated Press

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A Boston Marathon runner cries as she leaves the course near Copley Square on Monday.

The Associated Press

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An injured person is helped on the sidewalk near the finish line after Monday’s explosions. Some victims were treated in a medical tent that had been set up to assist fatigued runners.

Kevin McGagh/MetroWest Daily News via The Associated Press

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AP Photo/The Daily Free Press/Kenshin Okubo


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