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Boston bombs were pressure cookers filled with metal:

The explosive devices that killed three people and injured scores at the Boston Marathon finish line were pressure cookers filled with metal and ball bearings, according to a federal law enforcement official.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on, tells USA TODAY that the explosives were put in 6-liter pressure cookers, placed in black duffel bags and left on the ground. They were packed with shrapnel, the person said.

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The person said law enforcement officials have some of the bomb components but do not yet know what was used to set off the explosives.

The description of the devices coincides with observations earlier by Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, who said most of the injuries were “traumatic amputations,” in which the blasts nearly blew off one victims’ legs.

The explosions 12 seconds and 100 yards apart ripped into the crowds gathered Monday afternoon for the finale of the traditional marathon that wound through the streets of Boston.

Velmahos had said that all of the victims had “10, 20, 30, 40 pieces of shrapnel embedded in their bodies, mostly in their legs, but as high up as their necks.” He had described the shrapnel as pea-sized pellets and nails stripped of their heads.

A law enforcement official said earlier that the devices were believed to be assembled with gunpowder and ball-bearing-type material to serve as shrapnel. The official, who has been briefed on the matter but is not authorized to comment publicly, described the devices as “rudimentary” but powerful.

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