Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Mourners leave the funeral for Boston Marathon bomb victim Krystle Campbell, 29, at St. Joseph's Church in Medford.
Mourners leave the funeral for Boston Marathon bomb victim Krystle Campbell, 29, at St. Joseph's Church in Medford.

Boston Marathon bombers 'probably acted alone'

The two brothers accused of bombing the Boston Marathon probably acted alone, not at the behest of a foreign or domestic militant group, US officials say.

NEW YORK // The two brothers accused of bombing the Boston Marathon probably acted alone, not at the behest of a foreign or domestic militant group, and appear to have been inspired by extremist ideology, US officials said.

The blasts killed three people last week and the suspects also shot dead a policeman. Since the attacks, officials have turned their attention to trying to understand what motivated the Tsarnaeva brothers.

Tamerlan Tsarnaeva, 26, was killed during a shoot-out with police on Friday but his brother Dzhokhar, 19, answered law enforcement officials' questions from his hospital bed in writing at the weekend, officials told Associated Press.

With gunshot wounds to the head, throat and legs, among other injuries sustained during two shoot-outs with police and perhaps a suicide attempt, Dzhokhar was sedated and on a ventilator at the weekend.

During the initial interview with FBI agents, which is not admissible as evidence in court, Dzhokhar said Tamerlan, had masterminded the attacks out of a desire to defend Islam, an official told CNN.

FBI officials said yesterday that Tamerlan frequently looked at extremist propaganda, including Inspire magazine, an English-language online publication aimed at aspiring lone-wolf terrorists.

Dzhokhar has acknowledged his role in the bombing, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper also reported that Dzhokhar had said that wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack.

By Monday, Dzhokhar had been read his rights and was officially charged with using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, among other crimes, during a bedside court proceedings.

The claim that Tamerlan was the motivating force in the crime bolstered the narrative that has emerged in the days since then of an alienated and angry young man whose life in the US was faltering and who became enthralled with a radical interpretation of Islam.

The exact formula of personal psychology and external political and religious influences that led to Tamerlan's radicalisation, and whether it occurred before, during or after a six-month trip to Dagestan and Chechnya last year, will probably never be known with certainty.

"Profiles are almost impossible to draw," Rafaello Pantucci, who studies radicalisation at the United Royal Services Institute security think tank in London, told Reuters.

After following his parents and younger brother to Cambridge from Dagestan in 2004, Tamerlan finished high school and trained with his father as a boxer, becoming one of the best amateurs in the region. But soon his boxing career stalled, as did his interest in engineering classes at a local community college.

According to members of his extended family, sometime in 2007 the Tsarnaev household began to splinter under the weight of the deferred dreams and realities of life in America.

Perhaps the spark that ignited the family discord was the Tamerlan's growing religiosity at the prompting of his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva. During an interview in her home in Dagestan, she told TheWall Street Journal that she urged Tamerlan to become more religious because she worried about his lifestyle of womanising, and use of marijuana and alcohol.

"I'm telling you, something turned," a high school friend, Luis Vasquez, told The Journal. "And it was dramatic."

In 2010, Tamerlan met and married Katherine Russell, now 24, an American who was studying in Boston who converted to Islam before their marriage. They had a daughter soon after.

Katherine lived with the brothers in their Cambridge apartment during the time leading up to the bombings, but her lawyer said she knew nothing of the plot and her family released a statement saying they "never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev". The FBI is in discussions with her lawyer about how to proceed with questioning.

Her lawyers say she is doing everything she can to assist authorities. Soon after his marriage, Tamerlan went on a six-month trip to Dagestan, to visit his father and other relatives. Before he left, Russian authorities had asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan for alleged links to militant groups in the region, although it is not clear what intelligence prompted this.

The FBI found no reason to suspect Tamerlan, and he embarked on his trip, though his father said he mostly stayed at home.

Upon his return Tamerlan appeared more outwardly religious in his appearance, growing a beard and replacing his flashy western clothes with "white linen robes", according to The Boston Globe.

He also became confrontational at his local mosque on at least two occasions, according to congregants and a spokesman at the Islamic Society of Boston. Last November he interrupted a preacher who was encouraging worshippers there to celebrate national US holidays, saying that this was not allowed in Islam. Then in January, during another Friday sermon, he stood up and called the imam a "Kafir" for praising the US civil rights leader Martin Luther King junior The other congregants shouted Tamerlan down.

tkhan@thenational.ae

twitter: For breaking news from the Gulf, the Middle East and around the globe follow The National World. Follow us

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National