BREAKING: Terror Strikes Boston Marathon

Two explosions went off at the Boston Marathon this afternoon, right at the finish line. They happened after the main crowds had begun to dissipate; the major elite runners had all passed the finish line hours before the explosions. Still, dozens of injuries and it does appear there are fatalities.

A photo of one of the blasts has made its way onto the web…

That looks like it might have been the second explosion, since you can see a plume of smoke up the street.

More as we get it. We’ll update this post as we see additional information.

UPDATE #1: Word is the second explosion was bigger than the first. When the second explosion is bigger than the first, that means the first is designed to bring in first responders, gawkers and so on and then the second one is meant to capitalize on the traffic.

Also…

UPDATE #2: Not good…

Also, apparently the bombers did manage to time the explosions in optimal fashion. Most marathon runners finish between 3:30 and 4:30, and this thing occurred somewhere around the four-hour mark at the finish line. So it picked up as much of the crowd as possible.

As a mark for a mass terror attack, one wouldn’t expect a marathon to really be at the top of the list, though. There are crowds, but they’re a bit spread out.

But if you put a bomb in a trash can and load it with ball bearings, which is apparently what this was, you can do a lot of damage to people who are standing on the street.

UPDATE #3: Bloody Monday.

UPDATE #4: Now footage from the first explosion.

UPDATE #5: From CNN, video of both explosions…

Lots of reports saying that unexploded “secondary” devices have been found. Apparently somebody designed that scene as giant booby trap, though it looks like they weren’t entirely successful.

UPDATE #6: So far, the toll is two dead, 23 injured. That number looks low.

UPDATE #7: Now the feds are telling the New York Post that the number is 12 dead and at least 50 wounded.

UPDATE #8: There is now a theory that this was a couple of suicide bombers. Evidence for it comes from this photo…

The theory goes that you wouldn’t have so much blood spattered so close to the heart of the blast, and it looks like the damage radiates from that bloody spot, if the bomb was in a trash can.

But the scene in that picture obviously looks different at the time the shot was taken, because there would have been people there who would have been carted off. And this looks like a ground-level explosion given all the severed legs (sorry for that).

UPDATE #9: This smells of one of those typical “big story inflated by wild speculation” patterns, but if true it would appear whoever did this has planned it pretty meticulously and wanted to make it a far larger episode than it was…

Now at the press conference, law enforcement says an explosion took place at the JFK Library in Dorchester, but no confirmation it had much of anything to do with the Boston Marathon or was organized by the same people.

And National Review had this just now

UPDATE 4:42 P.M. CBS News is quoting a law enforcement official who says authorities have a surveillance photo of a potential suspect.

At the briefing they’re denying they’ve found additional devices, so there’s some confusion about that.

UPDATE #10: Law enforcement did confirm a controlled explosion of a device on Boyleston Street, so that would indicate at least four devices.

More video. Sheer chaos…

And here’s a map of the two explosions and the “controlled demolition”…

More – the New York Post says there’s a suspect in custody…

Investigators have a suspect — a Saudi Arabian national — in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.

Law enforcement sources said the 20-year-old suspect was under guard at an undisclosed Boston hospital.

It was not immediately clear why the man was hospitalized and whether he was injured in the attack or in his apprehension.

The man was caught less than two hours after the 2:50 p.m. bombing on the finish line of the race, in the heart of Boston.

In addition, Boston police have has surveillance video of someone bringing multiple backpacks to blast site, according to CBS News.

UPDATE #11: From pretty close to home. Leonardo Verde is the manager of Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Baton Rouge, and he was at the marathon. Via Facebook…

Leonardo Verde
Everybody. Laure and I are safe. We just made it back to hotel. It was the most horrific thing I have ever witness, I was approximately 400 yards from the explosions , Laure was in the VIP grandstand by the finishing line, about 300 yards God bless all these poor people. Thanks for all the texts and calls. They asking for people not too used their cells in fear that might trigger other explosions.

In fact, the word is that cell service in Boston has been shut off to keep the dial-a-detonation risk to a minimum.

UPDATE #12: Fox News has an expert on who says these were “low velocity” bombs and indicative of a semi-pro operation at best. Local cell, he says.

Which isn’t particularly comforting. If the junior varsity terror squad can still pull off this kind of mayhem with homemade IED’s, it’s hard to stay safe.

Speaking of the junior varsity, when is this jackass going to go away?

UPDATE #13: Don’t know what to make of this, but it’s somebody being arrested on Boston Common, and the police are apparently shooing people out of there…

UPDATE #14: A confirmation that a Saudi national is under guard at a hospital, but he denies involvement and may or may not be a suspect…

Also, CNN says the injury toll is now 110.

UPDATE #15: CBS News says their source in local law enforcement does confirm the existence of surveillance video of a guy dropping two backpacks into garbage cans…

UPDATE #16: Rep. Peter King, on O’Reilly just now, noted that Inspire Magazine, which is Al Qaeda’s English-language publication, has called for attacks on “iconic American sporting events,” and this fits the bill for that.

Which doesn’t mean this was an Al Qaeda hit, per se, but it does point us to something a lot more concrete than the general Chris Matthews/Nanny Bloomberg moron commentary about the Tea Party or the fact it’s a Tax Day bombing.

This is a classic IED attack, and it was planned in a classic terror pattern.

And yet when Barack Obama gave his speech on the bombing, he called it a “tragedy.” Come on. This isn’t a tragedy, and it’s not a disaster. Start by calling it what it was. It was a massacre, an atrocity and an outrage. Somebody deliberately set those bombs off with an eye toward killing and dismembering as many innocent people as possible.

And yeah, maybe it was somebody pissed off about Tax Day or gun control or immigration. But, really? Is that really more likely than the jihadists? Exactly how does blowing up the Boston Marathon help lower the tax rate or promote gun rights? Even the dumbest Timothy McVeigh type plants a bomb with a specific purpose in mind; McVeigh hit the federal building in OKC as a protest of what he thought was the overreach and brutality of the federal government.

What overreach and brutality are you protesting by hitting the Boston Marathon? Nike?

The kind of mindless hatred and violent stupidity inherent in blowing off the legs of spectators at a marathon, which is just about the least political event you can imagine – even on an international basis; the guys who win the Boston Marathon are usually Kenyans or Ethiopians who couldn’t give a rat’s derriere about gun rights in America or the federal deficit – is almost completely on display from jihadists.

So we’re not going to pin this on the Muslims definitively now, but it’s pretty apparent this was a jihadist hit. If it wasn’t, somebody did a damn good job of copying them for his own purposes.

UPDATE #17: A bit more on the jihadist angle…

The head of an extremist Jordanian Muslim Salafi group said early Tuesday that he was “happy to see the horror in America” after the explosions in Boston.

“American blood isn’t more precious than Muslim blood,” said Mohammad al-Chalabi, who was convicted in an al-Qaida-linked plot to attack U.S. and other Western diplomatic missions in Jordan in 2003.

“Let the Americans feel the pain we endured by their armies occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and killing our people there,” he said early Tuesday.

Al-Chalabi served seven years in prison for his part in the foiled attack. His group is outlawed in Jordan.

A Mideast counterterrorism official based in Jordan said the blasts “carry the hallmark of an organized terrorist group, like al-Qaida.” He did not give actual evidence linking al-Qaida to the bombing.

“From the little information available, one can say it was a well-coordinated, well-targeted and near-simultaneous attack,” he said. “Luckily, the amount of explosives used is small, judging from the casualty figure and explosion area.”

UPDATE #18: Now more on suspects. A tweet from CNN’s Nick Valencia…

And some additional information…

There is also something about a yellow Penske truck which attempted to access the marathon route, but we don’t know if that’s a real lead.

UPDATE #19: And of course, there’s the guy on the roof…

No idea who he is, but eveybody’s asking.

UPDATE #20: Something else interesting – the cops raided an apartment in Revere, outside of Boston, after a suspicious individual in a van (whether that’s the abovementioned Penske truck or something else) drove past a blockade several times and acted in a sketchy manner. The cops apparently were able to trace him back to the apartment in Revere and executed a warrent there. No word on whether they hit paydirt on the bombings.

UPDATE #21: Wow. A runner’s perspective of one of the bombs going off…

UPDATE #22: Apparently the police raid in Revere, which reportedly is related to the bombings, came because the driver went past the State Police barracks – not a police barricade…

A law enforcement source tells Fox 25 that a large police presence at a home in Revere is related to the Boston Marathon bombings.

The source said that a suspicious driver was pulled over by Revere police after driving past the State Police barracks a number of times.

The driver reportedly had a “nervous demeanor.”

The driver then led police, as well as the FBI, to a home in the area of Ocean Avenue and Beach Street.

It was not immediately known what police were searching for at the home. Three people died and more than 100 were injured after bombs went off within 100 yards of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon.

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