Police: Boston bomber suspects targeted Times Square
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and his brother “spontaneously” decided to drive to New York and detonate explosives at Times Square, and that they discussed the plan while they were in an SUV they allegedly hijacked in the Boston area last week, New York police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters Thursday.
The plan “fell apart” when the SUV ran low on fuel in the Boston area and the Tsarnaevs ordered the SUV’s driver to pull over. The driver escaped during the refueling, and police subsequently caught up with the Tsarnaevs, he said. Kelly said Tsarnaev initially told investigators that he and his brother wanted to go to New York to “party,” but later said that they intended to target Times Square
Kelly said there is no evidence that New York City is currently a target of a terror attack stemming from the Boston bombings.
– At least one of the two bombs used in Boston — the second to explode — was detonated by remote control, a law enforcement official told CNN Thursday. Previously, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat and member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev used a remote control device similar to those used to control toy cars to detonate both bombs at the marathon.
– A body found Tuesday is that of Sunil Tripathi, a missing Brown University student who was falsely identified by some on social media as being one of the Boston Marathon bombers. The Rhode Island State Medical Examiner’s office said Thursday the body has been identified as that of Tripathi, missing since March 15. No foul play is suspected in his death, the office said.
– No firearm was found in the boat where the surviving Boston Marathon attack suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was found, several sources from different agencies familiar with the investigation said Thursday. Authorities had said in a criminal complaint there was a standoff between the boat’s occupant and police involving gunfire.
– A ranking Democrat on a House intelligence subcommittee said Thursday he does not believe the FBI and the CIA failed to share relevant information with each other regarding Boston Marathon attack suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Sources told CNN previously that Russia had separately asked the FBI and the CIA to look into Tsarnaev in 2011. “This information was put in a database, it was shared among different agencies, it was shared with a joint terrorism task force, and that’s exactly what should happen,” U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, told CNN Thursday. “So I don’t think this was a situation where either agency was withholding something from the other. … Some are racing to say that the FBI dropped the ball or the agencies weren’t talking to each other, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case.” Schiff is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence.
– The father of bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told reporters that he could leave the Russian region of Dagestan on Thursday for the United States. The father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said previously that he will cooperate in the bombing investigation in Boston, where his lone surviving son, Dzhokhar, is hospitalized and charged in the case.
– The suspect’s mother told reporters Thursday in Dagestan that U.S. officials “already told us they will not let us see Dzhokhar.” Zubeidat Tsarnaev earlier told CNN that she believed the bombings were staged and fake. But she also said she feels sorry for the victims, and is resolute that her sons were not involved. Zubeidat Tsarnaev is wanted on 2012 felony charges of shoplifting and property damage in Massachusetts, according to court officials. It is unclear whether returning to the United States would lead to her arrest.
– Russian President Vladimir Putin urged closer cooperation between with the United States on security issues in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. “This tragedy should motivate us to work closer together,” Putin said during a live televised call-in session in Moscow on Thursday. “If we combine our efforts we will not suffer blows like that.”
– The body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev remains in the custody of the Massachusetts chief medical examiner, a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office tells CNN. Terrel Harris also said the cause of Tsarnaev’s death has yet to be determined.
– Months after the FBI cleared Tamerlan Tsarnaev after a request from Russia to investigate him, Russian also approached the CIA to look into Tsarnaev’s shift toward Islamic extremism, a government official tells CNN. But the information provided by the Russians in November 2011 was “basically the same” information that had been given to the FBI, the government official said, adding that the communication sent to the CIA was a “warning letter.”
– Investigators are looking into the possibility Tamerlan Tsarnaev — who was married with a young daughter, whom he frequently cared for while his wife worked as a home health aide — may have helped finance the bomb plot through illegal drug sales, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
– Some 33 of the more than 260 people wounded in last week’s explosions were still being treated Wednesday night in Boston-area hospitals, according to a CNN tally. Only one of them — at Boston Medical Center — is in critical condition.
– At least 14 people underwent amputations because of the blasts.
– The name of one Boston Marathon bombing suspect was included in U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism databases, but he was not on any watch list that would have prevented him from flying or required additional screening when he left or entered the country, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.
– Human rights activist Kheda Saratova in Makhachkala, Dagestan, told CNN that the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers talked Wednesday with U.S. investigators and the Russian Federal Security Service.
– Vice President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday at a memorial service for Sean Collier, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus officer who authorities say was killed by the suspected Boston Marathon bombers last week.
– Biden referred to the suspects as “two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knock-off jihadis.”
– Citing terrorists in general, he said, “They do it to instill fear, to have us — in the name of our safety and security — jettison what we value most, and the world most values about us: our open society, our system of justice that guarantees freedom, the access of all Americans to opportunity, the free flow of information and people across this country, our transparency, that’s their target.”
– The suspects in last week’s bombings in Boston may have been planning to party in New York, that city’s police commissioner, Ray Kelly, told reporters Wednesday, citing comments from the younger brother. “Information that we received said something about partying, having a party,” he said.
– Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have been “brainwashed” by a friend from Cambridge, Massachusetts named Misha — an Armenian who had converted to Islam — the dead man’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told CNN.
– Elmirza Khozhgov, a former brother-in-law of the brothers, told CNN that the elder Tsarnaev introduced him to a man named Misha, but “I didn’t witness him making him radical.”
– A spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of Boston told CNN that no one in the group’s network appeared to have heard of the person named Misha.
– The spokeswoman, Nichole Mossalam, said the group was prepared to hold a funeral for the dead brother, but had not been asked to do so. Several of the group’s imams said they would not be comfortable presiding over a funeral for the elder brother, so the organization would likely ask a lay person to officiate, she said.
– The surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has indicated to investigators that it was his brother, not any international terrorist group, who conceived the attack, a U.S. government source said.
– The source said preliminary interviews with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggest the brothers were self-radicalized jihadists.
– James Taylor sang at the memorial service at MIT, accompanied by the MIT Symphony Orchestra and a vocal ensemble from the university.
– The suspects received welfare benefits as children, the state government says; Tamerlan received them for his family through last year.
– Authorities reopened the site of the bomb blasts Wednesday to pedestrian traffic after replacing missing bricks and patching up concrete.
– Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has cited the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as motivating factors behind the attack, a U.S. government official said Tuesday.
– Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains hospitalized in fair condition.
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