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NEW UPDATES:

  • Two dead in bomb blasts near finish line of Boston Marathon, Boston police say. Area hospitals say 90+ injured.
  • Two explosions happened at about 2:50 p.m., more than two hours after the first of the race’s nearly 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line.
  • Third blast later reported at JFK Library about 5 miles away, police say. Not clear whether that blast is connected to first two.
  • Red Cross website established to help people find loved ones in the area

[Update, 4:58 p.m. ET] New details from Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:

A third explosion happened at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library “about a half-hour ago.” The library is about 5 miles southeast of the Boston Marathon finish line.

Police don’t immediately know whether that explosion is related to the two near the Boston Marathon finish line.

The two blasts near the finish line – along Boylston Street near Copley Square – “happened 50 to 100 yards apart.”

“We’re recommending to people that they stay home … and that they don’r go anyplace and congregate in large crowds.”

Relatives of people who may be missing in the area can call the mayor’s hotline at 617-635-4500.

Anyone who has information about the bombings or saw anything suspicious can call 1-800-494-TIPS.

[Update, 4:46 p.m. ET] Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says “this is a horrific day in Boston.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured,” Patrick said in a statement released this afternoon. “I have been in touch with the president, Mayor Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured. I am asking everyone to stay away from Copley Square and let the first responders do their jobs.”

[Update, 4:45 p.m. ET] It appears that so many people are using cell phones in the center of Boston, consistent service is hard to get and the overload is hampering the investigation, two federal law enforcement sources tell CNN.

ORIGINAL STORY:

(CNN) — Blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed two people and injured 22 others Monday, Boston police said.

The marathon itself, on its Facebook page, referred to the blasts as bombs. Authorities did not say immediately what caused the explosions.

Massachusetts General Hospital said it was treating 19 injured people; Tufts Medical Center reported that some injured were to be treated there as well.

The explosions sent smoke billowing into the air at Copley Square, turning a site of celebration into a mess of destruction.

Crowds had gathered in the area to watch the runners.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Lenox Hotel was evacuated, the Boston Globe reported, as authorities looked into possible security concerns.

Officials in other cities, including New York, tightened security as as result.

Mike Baingon, who works at the Atlantic Fish Company in Boston, said an explosion took place in front of the restaurant and that he was right by the front door at the time.

The explosions occurred at about 2:45 p.m., more than two hours after the first of the race’s nearly 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line, CNN Producer Matt Frucci reported.

The race was halted as was subway service into the area.

Troops from the Massachusetts National Guard were assisting police as well.

SOURCE: CNN.com