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  • Bomb squad agents control the area near the finishing line of the men

    Bomb squad agents control the area near the finishing line of the men's cycling road race at the 2016 Rio Olympics after they made a controlled explosion, in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil August 6, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

A loud blast was heard near the finishing line of the men's cycling road race at the Rio Olympics on Saturday. 

A loud blast shook the media seats near the finishing line of the men's cycling road race on the first day of the Rio Olympics when Brazil's bomb squad detonated an unattended backpack on Saturday, amid tight security at South America's first Games.

A Reuters witness reported seeing bomb squad agents in protective clothing operating near the area where media were seated on the boulevard of Copacabana beach. That followed the detonation of another unattended bag near the same spot on Friday evening during the opening ceremony for the Games.

A spokeswoman for the public security department said that officials believe the bag may have belonged to a homeless man, but protocol requires any unattended objects to be destroyed.

The controlled blast occurred at 1:45 p.m. (12:45 p.m. EDT), the spokeswoman said.

In recent days, bomb squad members have detonated several unattended bags in controlled explosions around Rio amid high security.

Brazil detained 12 people for suspected links to Islamic State last month but it has insisted that the risk of an attack at the Games is minimal.

Brazil has deployed some 85,000 police and military to guard the Games, roughly twice the number at the 2012 London Olympics.

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