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Boston bombing was 'planned for Fourth of July'

WASHINGTON: The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings told FBI interrogators he and his brother had considered suicide attacks and striking on the Fourth of July, a law enforcement official said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators he and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a shootout with the police, had ultimately decided to use pressure-cooker bombs and other homemade explosive devices, the official said.

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Tamerlan's body was claimed on behalf of his family on Thursday, an official said.

The brothers finished building the bombs in Tamerlan's apartment more quickly than they had anticipated and so decided to accelerate their attack to the Boston Marathon on April 15, Patriots Day in Massachusetts, according to the account Dzhokhar provided authorities. They picked the finish line of the marathon after driving around the Boston area looking for alternative sites, according to this account.

Dzhokhar also told authorities he and his brother had viewed the internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American cleric who moved to Yemen and was killed in September 2011 by a US drone strike. There is no indication that the brothers had communicated with Awlaki before his death.

Tsarnaev made his admission to FBI agents on April 21, two days after he was captured while hiding in a boat in a nearby backyard.


They invoked what is known as the public safety exception to the Miranda Rule, which in certain circumstances allows interrogation after an arrest without notifying a prisoner of the right to remain silent.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body had been kept at a Boston facility for more than a week after he was killed in the shootout with police.

Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts, said a funeral services company retained by the family had claimed the body. No details were given on the cause of death or where the body had been taken.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was 26. On Tuesday, his widow, Katherine Russell, said through a lawyer that she wished his remains to be released to the Tsarnaev family. Ms Russell's lawyer could not immediately be reached on Thursday.

Investigators have questioned Ms Russell as they seek clues about how the brothers allegedly built the two bombs used in the attack and whether they had help.

The suspects' parents previously lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but have since returned to Russia. Other relatives remain in the United States, including an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Maryland, who has been seen in Rhode Island in recent days.

New York Times, Reuters