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Boston Marathon Explosion

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Boston Marathon Explosion, Two explosions described by race organizers as bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday as runners completed the course and thousands cheered them on. At least two people were killed and 23 injured, police said.

Video from the finish line showed screams and an enormous cloud of white smoke, and about 20 seconds between the blasts. The explosions were strong enough to cause at least one runner to collapse, and emergency personnel carried bloody spectators away. A witness said that she saw people’s legs blown off.

“We saw two big puffs. I thought maybe it was fireworks. Then it went off again. And then all of a sudden we heard people crying and running away. It was a huge horde of people just running away,” said Serghino Rene, another witness, who was a few blocks away. “We just got away from the scene and away from tall buildings.”

A third, undetonated device was found near the finish line, a House Homeland Security Committee official and three law enforcement officials told NBC News.

The injury count from area hospitals exceeded that initially given by the police. Massachusetts General Hospital said that it had 19 patients, and Tufts Medical Center said it had nine. Jackie Bruno, a reporter for New England Cable News, said on Twitter that she saw people’s legs blown off.

“Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror,” she said.

Race organizers, in a post on Twitter, said: “There were two bombs that exploded near the finish line in today’s Boston Marathon. We are working with law enforcement to determine exactly what happened.”

President Barack Obama was notified, and his administration was in touch with state and local authorities, a White House official told NBC News. Obama directed the administration to provide whatever help was necessary, the official said.

Within an hour of the blasts, New York police deployed extra security to landmarks, and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to foot traffic. San Francisco put its police on heightened alert.

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