Two explosions have caused injuries at the finish line of the Boston city marathon in the US, near the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. The cause of the blasts is not yet clear, security services have cordoned off the area.
The explosions struck in Boston roughly three hours after the winning runners had crossed the finish line. The blasts hit the north side of Boylston Street, near the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel and the bridge that marks the finish line of the marathon course.
The Boston Police Department said on its Twitter feed that two people were killed and 23 injured.
"Update 23 injured 2 dead," the BPD wrote, citing its Bureau Chief for Public Information, Cheryl Fiandaca.
According to the Associated Press news agency, a runner whose bib number (17528) identified him as Frank Deruyter said that "there are a lot of people down." The same AP report spoke of an injured woman and a Boston police officer being carried from the scene.
The White House issued a statement saying that President Barack Obama had been notified of the event, and had directed his administration to provide whatever assistance was necessary in the investigation.
The cause of the explosions, which reportedly took place almost simultaneously, is not yet known.
The annual Boston marathon is traditionally held on Patriot's Day, a local state holiday celebrating the evacuation of Boston by the British during the American Revolutionary War.
More to follow…
msh/slk (AP, dpa)