Boston: In an apparent terror attack, at least three persons were killed and over 141 sustained injuries when three powerful bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

The two blasts occurred within seconds at a sidewalk along the route of the Boston Marathon, where thousands of people had lined up to cheer on the marathoners. The authorities also found a device at two other locations in the city, but they did not explode.The third blast took place at JFK Library.

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The Boston Globe quoted law enforcement sources as saying that the dead included an 8-year-old boy. Boston Children's Hospital reported that those treated there included a 9-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy, a 12-year-old, and a 2-year-old. The injured are being treated at several local hospitals.

It was the worst bombing on US soil since security was tightened after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and President Barack Obama promised to hunt down whoever was responsible for the attack on a day when tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets to watch the world-famous race.

Cheers turned to screams

Many runners were heading for the finish when a fireball and smoke rose from behind cheering spectators and a row of flags representing the countries of participants, video from the scene showed. The cheers turned to screams and panic.



"I saw people who looked like they had their legs blown off. There was a lot of blood over their legs. Then people were being pushed in wheelchairs," said Joe Anderson, 33, a fisherman from Pembroke, Massachusetts, who had just run the race holding a large US flag.

When the smoke cleared after the blasts in Boston's Back Bay section, dozens of victims lay in the street, some unconscious, some grievously injured, including some whose limbs had been torn off by the blast, Boston Globe reported.

Chaos erupted as near-simultaneous blasts struck about 90 metres apart, the first on Boylston Street near the photo bridge that marks the finish line, CTV News said.

FBI on lookout for 'darker-skinned male'

FBI special agent in charge Richard DesLauriers told reporters that the investigation into the blasts is an "ongoing and criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation."

Investigators warned police to be on the lookout for a "darker-skinned or black male" with a possible foreign accent in connection with the attack, the channel said citing a law enforcement advisory obtained by it. The man was seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area about five minutes before the first explosion, the lookout notice states.

Also, a Saudi national with a leg wound was under guard at a Boston hospital in connection with the bombings, but investigators cannot say he is involved at this time and he is not in custody, a law enforcement official said on Monday evening, it said.

After the incident, the security across major US cities was beefed up and President Obama, describing the act as "senseless", affirmed that the perpetrators "will feel the full weight of justice."
    
Nearly 27,000 people were participating in the marathon which is held annually on the Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April, a state holiday in Massachusetts.
    
The blasts occurred as thousands of spectators lined the sidewalks to cheer on the marathoners. several runners collapsed on the ground due to the impact of the blasts which tore through the windows of buildings nearby.
    
President Obama said those responsible are yet to be identified, and  cautioned that "people should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts."
    
"But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this and we'll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice," Obama said.
    
Obama did not say whether the blasts were a terror attack.

(JPN/Agencies)

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