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April 16, 2013

Witnesses describe finish line as 'war zone'

Heightened security to be expected in Boston today

BOSTON — "This is what we expect from war."

Those were the words used by a doctor to describe the civilian carnage caused by two bombs that exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon at 2:50 p.m. yesterday. The fiery twin blasts took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart, killing at least three people, including one child, and injuring more than 140 people, at least 17 critically.

The explosions knocked runners to their feet, shattered windows, sent dense plumes of smoke over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the course. Blood stained the pavement and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.

"They just started bringing people in with no limbs," said runner Tim Davey of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners, but "they saw a lot."

"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."

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. A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course in what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack.

As the FBI took charge of the investigation, authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the bombings, and police said they had no suspects in custody. Authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice." Obama also told Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick that his administration would provide whatever support was needed.

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