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Boston attack: Swath of city on lockdown as police scour for additional bombs

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Authorities around the city are active Monday evening on multiple fronts: checking the marathon course and other areas for explosives, tending to the injured, helping people who are trying to locate loved ones, and launching an urgent hunt for whomever set the explosives.

Mayor Thomas Menino gave out a hot line for people trying to find the whereabouts of loved ones: 617-635-4500. And a Google people-finder site has been set up for the same purpose.

Separately, law enforcement officials said people should call 800-494-TIPS with any tips related to the crime.

With the two explosions in close proximity to each other, and the possibility that the JFK library incident may be linked to the bombings, the possibility rises that the perpetrators planted other explosives across a much wider area, say homeland security experts. Indeed, another device was discovered and exploded by authorities Monday.

Against that possibility, Boston authorities shut down cellphone tower service in the city to guard against bombs that could be triggered by cellphone, a common terrorist tactic.

Federal and state authorities have kicked into high gear, with federal agencies deploying investigative teams. The FBI has a big field office in Boston, and because this was an attack of some scale, a variety of key agencies are nearby.

While there is little to go on at this point, the fact that the Back Bay explosions did not destroy buildings nearby indicated that they were relatively small-charge bombs.

“What we saw today was a relatively small-scale set of explosions,” says Stephen Flynn, co-director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University, in Boston.

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