- (Photo: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk)
The captured suspect behind the Boston Marathon bombing, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been answering questions by authorities regarding the attack, telling officials that he and his older brother, who was killed in a shootout, do not have ties to any terrorist organizations. New information has suggested, however, that they held strong anti-American and anti-Christian views.
ABC News revealed that Dzhokhar and his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was shot down by police in Boston early Friday morning, had radicalized themselves over the Internet, but did not receive any direction or financing from overseas groups. Authorities believe that the brothers, who were born in Chechnya but had lived in the U.S. for close to a decade, were likely inspired by former al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in 2011.
"The older brother appeared to be the more radicalized of the two and was the one that drove the need to conduct the attack as well as the preparation for the attack that is building the bombs," said Seth Jones, a counter-terror expert at the RAND Corporation.
The brothers apparently used an al Qaeda Internet magazine to make the pressure cooker bombs, with the attack being largely put together by Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The Boston Marathon bombing last week left three people dead and injured close to 200 others.
"This is kind of the al Qaeda modus operandi now, not relying only on operatives, but trying to get people do it yourself radicalization to build their own bombs without coming to a training camp in Pakistan or Yemen or other locations," Jones continued.
"They ad-libbed part of it and made some decisions on a few elements of the bomb making but what's different about this is they took a very simple recipe and then targeted the Boston Marathon. And why the marathon? Because it was there, essentially, and easy. Not long in the planning."
Three other U.S. officials who spoke under the condition of anonymity also confirmed with The Associated Press that they believe the brothers are not connected to any terrorist groups, but were likely motivated by a radical version of Islam. One of the officials called them "aspiring jihadists."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also apparently told authorities that his older brother had "disgust with things American and Christian," but officers have said they will continue investigating all the possible motives behind the attack and will not take the younger brother's claims without evidence.
"So with the Bible he believed that it was a cheap copy off the Koran and that it was used as an excuse for many wars fought by America to invade countries and take land away," said Elbrecht Ammon, one of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's neighbors. "He mentioned how America is a colonial power and wants to take as much land as possible and most casualties are innocent people shot down by American soldiers."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is still hospitalized and recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the throat from a possible suicide attempt, is going to be tried as a U.S. citizen and not as an enemy combatant, the White House revealed yesterday.
"Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.