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Explosions kill at least three and injure over 100 at Boston Marathon

Gideon Lichfield


Update (11.30pm ET): The death toll stands at three, and reports of the injured range from 100 to 140 people.  The FBI is treating it as a “potential terrorist investigation.” There are no further details on who might have been behind it. The Wall Street Journal has retracted an earlier report (paywall) that as many as five more explosive devices were found around Boston.

The organizers of next weekend’s London Marathon are reviewing security procedures, but won’t cancel it.

Update (6.42pm ET): Bloomberg reports that an unnamed White House official is calling it terrorism:

White House official: "Any event with multiple explosive devices – as this appears to be – is clearly an act of terror."—
Bloomberg News (@BloombergNews) April 15, 2013

Update (6.15pm ET): President Barack Obama has just spoken to the press, and emphasized that as of yet, nothing is known about who was behind the explosions; he has not labeled it a terrorist attack and declined to take questions.

* * *

There were two explosions near the finish line of today’s Boston Marathon, near the city’s Copley Square, a little before 3pm ET today. Images have been streaming onto social media in the aftermath of the blasts. The New York Post is reporting at least 12 deaths and nearly 50 injured, but just after 4pm the head of public affairs for Boston’s police department was confirming only two deaths over Twitter, and 23 injuries; the Boston Globe is reporting 64 injured, and Boston.com says more than 100 are being treated in hospitals. NBC cites a “law enforcement official” as saying that one of the dead was an eight-year-old child. There was a third explosion at the JFK presidential library a few miles away just after 3pm, though police are saying it may not have been related; two more explosive devices were found near the marathon route.

The Boston Marathon is one of the most prominent distance races in the US. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon; it was first run in 1897. Is is one of the six World Marathon Majors, along with New York, Chicago, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. Some 24,662 runners left the starting line earlier today, according to the Associated Press.

Ongoing coverage:


Below are some of the images being posted on social media. Warning: some of these are disturbing.

Direct footage of the first explosion, from a producer at the Boston Globe who was filming at the finish line:

A few seconds of footage posted on Vine (on a six-second loop) that captured the explosion:

Boston Marathon explosion from the news vine.co/v/bFdt5uwg6JZ
Doug_Life (@Doug_Lorman) April 15, 2013

The explosion happens just off-camera on this NBC footage

Two still pictures that captured the explosion:

Explosion at coply http://t.co/EqKbGeWhha
Boston to a T (@Boston_to_a_T) April 15, 2013

Photo from our John Tlumacki of explosion on #BoylstonSt #BostonMarathon http://t.co/EvEwvsGleZ
Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) April 15, 2013

A collection of footage from the scene, by the Boston Globe:

Images of the road near the finish line, with blood on the sidewalk

What the fuck just happened? #bostonmarathon http://t.co/Heko9U6r7P
Tyler Wakstein (@theoriginalwak) April 15, 2013

911 Operator (@911BUFF) April 15, 2013

#BostonMarathon explosion, why why why !!!! http://t.co/eAGDM8F8wH
Uncle Awesome (@GeorgeOlepere) April 15, 2013

Victims being treated near the site of the explosion. The poster of this picture also tweeted: “I saw people’s legs blown off. Horrific. Two explosions. Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror.”

Two explosions along @bostonmarathon route. Multiple severe injuries. Terrible. Horrific. http://t.co/DVI4fLNAbR
Jackie Bruno (@JackieBrunoNECN) April 15, 2013

Runners halted on the course:

The deserted finish line

boston marathon explosion http://t.co/xUZ4EXKhLZ
David L. Ryan (@GlobeDavidLRyan) April 15, 2013

Police and a runner right after the blast

Police react in aftermath of explosion #bostonmarathon #boylstonst (John Tlumacki photo) http://t.co/pfgPjcPZAZ
Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) April 15, 2013

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