Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the US.
Reports emerged that among the dead was an 8-year-old child.
The twin blasts sent authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers in the 26.2-mile (40 kilometer) trek were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts.
Al Arabiya's correspondent said that subway trains were stopped, as Boston police called on the residents of the city to stay in their homes.
Also, off-duty police officers were called in to help with the situation. Meanwhile, according to CNN, a hotel located near the finish line was evacuated following the blast.
Third explosion at Boston's JFK Library
A third explosion was heard about an hour following the first two after authorities warned spectators to expect a loud noise from a water cannon that police apparently were using to destroy one of the devices.
A law enforcement official said mobile phone service has been shut down in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said that there was also an explosion at the John F. Kennedy presidential library, though there were no known injuries. He urged people to stay indoors and not congregate in large groups, adding there were no suspects in custody but there were "many people" being questioned.
The Boston police commissioner also said that investigators have not linked the fire at JFK Library to the marathon blasts, adding that authorities have not identified what caused the explosives that erupted at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Competitors and race organizers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.
“There are a lot of people down,” said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg. A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.
About three hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another thunderous explosion could be heard a few seconds later.
Runner Laura McLean of Toronto said she heard two explosions outside the medical tent.
“There are people who are really, really bloody,” McLean said. “They were pulling them into the medical tent.”
Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.
“I was expecting my husband any minute,” she said. “I don’t know what this building is... it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don't know what it was. I just ducked.”
Obama addresses the country
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.
President Barack Obama, speaking from the White House late Monday, pointedly avoided using the words “terror” or “terrorism,” saying officials “still do not know who did this or why.” However, a White House official later said the explosions at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious race was being treated as terrorism.
“We will find out who did this. We’ll find out why they did this,” Obama said in his brief statement. “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
NYC, LA and London beef up security
Police in Los Angeles, New York City and London stepped up security following explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said the department opened an emergency operations center, increased patrols for transit and other critical areas including the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game Monday night
Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said critical response teams were deployed around the city until more about the explosion is learned. Officials were stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations.
British police also said they are reviewing security plans for Sunday’s London Marathon. It’s the next major international marathon. A London Metropolitan Police spokesman said police are working with marathon officials to review security plans.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration created a no-fly zone over the site of the two explosions at the annual Boston marathon and briefly ordered flights bound for Boston's Logan International Airport be held on the ground at airports around the country.