Bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon

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Two large explosions at the final stretch of the Boston Marathon killed at least three people and injured more than 130, sending a pall of smoke over the area and staining the sidewalks with blood.

The explosions occurred at about 2.50pm ET, just feet away from the finishing line along Boylston Street, where hundreds of runners were arriving as the world's oldest annual marathon was in full flow. Photographs on Twitter showed the pavement along the final stretch of the race covered in injured people, with security guards and emergency workers in attendance.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen victims who had lost limbs. "There were a lot of people down," said eyewitness Frank Deruyter, who was running the marathon.

Video captures the moment of one of the two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon

The explosions occured without warning and were caused by two powerful devices, Boston police commissioner Ed Davis told reporters at a media briefing. Asked whether the city was under a terrorist attack, he replied: "We're not being definitive about this right now, but you can reach your own conclusions based on what happened."

A third incident at the John F. Kennedy Library a few miles away and more than an hour later was initially believed to be another explosive device, but library and police officials later said it was an unrelated fire. No one was injured.

The twin blasts at the race took place almost simultaneously and about 100 yards apart, tearing limbs off numerous people, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending smoke rising over the street.

Boston police say no suspect has been taken into custody though a Saudi national is being questioned by authorities. He was seen "acting suspiciously" running from the explosion, and a civilian chased him down and tackled him. He was turned over to Boston police and is being questioned by the FBI. He is being cooperative and denies any involvement.

There was no word on the motive or who may have launched the attack, and authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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