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Entries in bombing (15)

Monday
Jun032013

Russian Intelligence Officials Called Boston Marathon Bombing Preventable

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. congressman says that Russian intelligence officials are convinced that the April bombings at the Boston Marathon were preventable, had American authorities acted on Moscow's warning about one of the suspects.

Massachusetts Democrat William Keating, who has just returned from Russia with other lawmakers, says that U.S. intelligence agents apparently knew in 2010 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was ready to enlist in a terrorist cell in Dagestan, a southern region of Russia.

Keating told reporters that the head of Russian counterterrorism said "that if we had the level of information sharing and cooperation that is taking place right now, if we had had that back at that period of time, then the bombing might have been averted."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police four days after the Marathon bomb attacks that killed three people and left more 260 wounded. His brother, Dzhokhar, was taken into custody and charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.

Despite the terrorist attack last April 15, Keating, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that if the U.S. and Russia improve cooperation and information sharing  "there will be people in the future whose lives will be saved."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May042013

Cemeteries Refuse to Bury Body of Boston Bombing Suspect

Photo by Glenn DePriest/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Cemeteries across the Northeast are refusing to bury the body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev as his official cause of the death was released.

Authorities determined Tsarnaev died of gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to the head and torso after he was run over by his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarvaev, following a firefight with police.

Peter Stefan, a funeral home director in Worcester, Mass., told Good Morning America that he has already looked for plots in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts to bury Tsarnaev, but has had no luck.

"Is he a terrorist? Sure he is a terrorist, but I can't control what he did. But the person is dead, and burying a dead body, that's all it is," Stefan said.

Residents of Worcester, Mass., where Stefan's funeral home is located, are furious that the body of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev remains in the city.

"What do you mean just leave it? They don't do that in this country and we bury the worst of the worst here," Worcester resident William Breault told GMA.

Meanwhile, investigators search for more clues into where the Tsarnaev brothers built the bombs used in Boston Marathon attack.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly told investigators that his brother was the leader and author of the bombing plot, and that the siblings made the bombs in the apartment Tsarnaev shared with his wife, Katherine Russell.

Russell's attorney said she was shocked by the bombings, but had no prior knowledge of the attacks being planned.

While ABC News has learned that the female DNA found on one of the bombs did not match Russell's, the FBI is looking into what her husband may have said to her in a phone call just days after the bombings.

In addition, the father of Azamat Ismagulov, one of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends who was arrested and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice for taking his laptop and allegedly trying to dump a backpack full of fireworks, told ABC News he could not believe his son was implicated in the crimes.

"From the beginning, I did not believe and I do not believe right now that my son is guilty," Azamat's father Amir Ismagulov said. "I don't believe it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May012013

Three Suspects Charged in Connection with Boston Marathon Bombing

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Three more people have been taken into custody in connection with the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon, two charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and one with lying to investigators.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday alleges two college-aged friends of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19-year-olds Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, allegedly destroyed or concealed a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks belonging to Dzhokhar after the bombing. The third suspect, 19-year-old American Robel Phillipos, has been charged with lying to federal law enforcement officers.

All three suspects appeared in a Boston court Wednesday for an initial hearing where they were voluntarily detained pending future bail hearings.

Dzhokhar is in custody after being seriously injured in his flee from police. His brother and alleged co-conspirator Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police hours before Dzhokhar's capture. The pair is accused of setting off two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three people and injuring 170 more.

According to court documents, all three new suspects went to Dzhokhar's dormitory room on April 18 after they saw images released by the FBI of two suspects, one of which resembled their friend. Kadyrbayev texted Dzhokhar, saying that Dzhokhar looked like the guy being shown on television.

"LOL," replied Dzhokhar, court documents said. Kadyrbayev took that and other texts like "you better not text me" to be jokes.

It wasn't until the teens noticed fireworks with missing powder in Dzhokhar's room that Kadyrbayev allegedly "knew" his friend was involved with the deadly attack.

Kadyrbayev decided to take the backpack "to help his friend [Dzhokhar] avoid trouble" and took the laptop because he didn't want Dzhokhar's roommate to think he was behaving suspiciously. The documents assert that later Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov decided together to throw the backpack and fireworks in the trash.

Robert Stahl, an attorney for Kadyrbayev, said Wednesday his client was not aware Dzhokhar was a suspect in the bombing when he took the backpack and laptop and did not know the items might have been involved in a bombing or were of evidentiary value. Harlan Protass, an attorney for Tazhayakov, said that his client has cooperated fully with authorities and "looks forward" to the truth coming out in his case.

Prosecutors said Phillipos initially told federal investigators he did not remember going to Dzhokhar's room and then said the three friends went there but did not go in. In his fourth interview with investigators, however, Phillipos "eventually confessed that he had lied to the agents," the court documents say.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face up to five years in prison and Phillipos faces a maximum sentence of up to eight years if convicted, the DOJ said.

Late Tuesday, the Tsarnaev family was deciding what to do with Tamerlan's body.

Bella Tsarnaev, one of the young man's sisters, told ABC News in her first public statement that she and her sister Ailina have planned a proper Muslim burial for Tamerlan.

When the Massachusetts Medical Examiner's Office was ready to release her husband's body, Tamerlan's widow Katherine Russell declined to take it herself, according to her attorney.

"It is Katherine Russell's wish that his remains be released to the Tsarnaev family, and we will communicate her wishes to the proper authorities," attorney Amato DeLuca said Tuesday. DeLuca also said Russell has been meeting with law enforcement and is providing "as much assistance to the investigation as she can."

The statement came as investigators said they may have pinpointed a turning point in Tamerlan's growth into alleged radical: a 2012 trip to Russia in which he may have had contact with Russian Islamists.

American officials said they are investigating whether Tamerlan had been in contact over the Internet with a man named William Plotnikov, a Russian-Canadian and a fellow boxer, who had converted to Islam and joined the militant insurgency in the North Caucasus. Plotnikov was killed by Russian authorities while Tamerlan was in Russia, and Tamerlan left the country just days later.

Investigators also want to know what Tamerlan was doing with a known militant recruiter in the region named Mansur Mukhamed Nidal, with whom Tamerlan was repeatedly seen leaving a controversial mosque in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. Nidal was also killed by Russian authorities while Tamerlan was in Russia.

But despite what authorities said was photographic evidence the Tsarnaev brothers were behind the Boston bombing and comments reportedly from the surviving brother about how they executed the plot, family friend Britney Smith told ABC News she's not convinced.

"I was always taught to believe what you see and...what I see is two people walking with book bags. I don't see them planting down explosives. I don't see book bags being dropped," Smith said, apparently referring to images widely circulated by the FBI that show the brothers with bags either near or heading in the direction of each of the bomb sites. "If he [Dzhokhar] gets convicted and I see proof of him doing it, then I will be in total shock. I would be in disbelief and disgust that he would do that."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr212013

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Was 'Very American,' Neighbor Says

Robin Young, Here & Now(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- The narrow street that is home to the Tsarnaev family looks like many others in the city just across the river from Boston, but neighbors were still reeling from the news that members of the family who lived next door could be suspected of being behind the Boston marathon bombings.

As soon as it became clear early Friday morning that the suspects were Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, police swarmed the street. They focused on a brown house here where the Tsarnaevs lived in an apartment on the third floor.

Just over 24 hours later, there were no police in sight -- just neighbors still stunned that they could live so close to the alleged perpetrators.

Matthew Stuber, 29, who lives next door to the Tsarnaev family, described the younger Tsarnaev as a "sweetheart, a young, cute kid" who was "normal" and "very American."

He said Dzhokhar seemed close to his father, Anzor, whom he would help fix up cars outside their home, something neighbors think Anzor Tsarnaev did to make money.

Stuber, whose apartment is in a house that shares a yard with the house where the Tsarnaevs have an apartment, said he watched Dzhokhar, 19, playing soccer as he grew up and said he is convinced the only way he could have been involved in the attack is if he was "corrupted" by his older brother, who he suspects had a "strong influence" on Dzhokhar.

"He's just a boy," Stuber told reporters, standing in his doorway. "He was just a young boy. It's shocking. I certainly can't put it together that he fired a weapon potentially."

He said it has been hard for him to fathom that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be the same person seen on video placing the explosives down in the crowd, including by 8-year-old Martin Richard, who died in the blast.

"It's very hard to think that act wasn't faceless," Stuber said. "He chose a spot. He saw their faces immediately. To me it's kind of hard to believe a young boy with no life experience is at all capable ... maybe I'm putting too much blame on the brother."

Stuber said the area was swarmed by police early Friday morning and they watched it unfold on television, despite being next door, too afraid to come out of their home. Eventually, police told them to leave, and they didn't return until Saturday.

Despite living close to the family, Stuber said he wasn't close with them. He described Dzhokhar as "introverted" and said he'd just seen him come home from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth about two weeks ago, saying he looked exactly the same and was just hanging out with friends in the yard.

Another neighbor, Harvey Smith, who lives in the basement apartment in the same building as the Tsarnaev family, also said he did not know them well, despite living there since before the family moved in around 2002, he said.

Although he is speculating, Smith agreed with Stuber that he believes the elder brother had sway over the younger, describing Tamerlan as "more domineering."

"I would imagine because he's the older brother," Smith told reporters from the front of the home that housed their apartments. "He was taller and bigger and had that personality."

Smith added: "I wish the whole thing never happened. ... I thought he was a good kid just like everybody else."

Smith was clearly still stunned by the revelations of the past two days, describing the situation as "awful" and saying he is still in shock.

"Very much, very much," Smith said, when asked whether he was surprised. "I can't even believe I'm talking to reporters."

He said he spoke with the FBI Friday, and they asked "a lot of questions, which I answered."

There was no sign of any law enforcement outside the home Saturday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr212013

Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Boston Bombing Suspect

Robin Young, Here & Now(BOSTON) -- With Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lying under heavy guard at a Massachusetts hospital awaiting charges, Boston's mayor said he hopes federal authorities "throw the book at him," which would include the possibility of execution.

The Boston Marathon bombing suspect, 19, could face charges at the state and federal levels, but Massachusetts has no death penalty.

"I hope that the U.S. attorney takes him on the federal side and throws the book at him," Mayor Thomas Menino said on This Week on Sunday. "These two individuals held this city hostage for five whole days."

"They should not do that -- that's what these terrorist events want to do, hold the city hostage and stop the economy of the city."

Tsarnaev, 19, is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he is listed in serious but stable condition, with wounds to the neck and throat area, according to sources. Investigators said he is unable to communicate because of his injuries that might include wounds from an earlier gunfight.

Menino said he agreed with the decision to shut down the city Friday because of multiple events, including the discovery of a pipe bomb unrelated to the marathon attack.

"At that time we found a pipe bomb at another location in our city of Boston," he said. "Another individual was taken into custody."

Menino did not elaborate on the pipe bomb incident.

He said he believed the Tsarnaev brothers acted alone when they allegedly set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line.

He also said he thought that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died after a gun battle with police, "brainwashed or manipulated" his 19-year-old brother, who was taken into custody Friday.

It's unclear when Dzokhar Tsarnaev will be able to talk, but a special interrogation team is at the ready, sources said.

He apparently knows that his brother died after a Thursday night gun battle with police, sources say.

Authorities had launched a manhunt for Tsarnaev, who managed to escape one block outside a police perimeter, on Friday. Residents of greater Boston were told to stay in doors, as police hoped to find and apprehend Tsarnaev alive.

Authorities zeroed in on a boat in a Watertown, Mass., backyard after they received a tip from homeowner George Henneberry, who saw something was amiss.

An infrared camera with a bird's-eye view of the moments before Tsarnaev's capture gave authorities an idea of what to expect as they methodically closed in on the Boston Marathon bombings suspect.

Police believe Tsarnaev was initially wounded Thursday night in the gun battle that ended in his brother's death. Police said they found blood in a car he abandoned and blood at a house.

The thermal-imaging camera showed Tsarnaev was able to move around inside the boat, as the FBI SWAT team brought in a robotic device to approach the boat and peel back a tarp, giving authorities a clear view of the suspect.

At least two flash grenades were thrown into the boat, designed to disorient Tsarnaev, who authorities feared might have been wearing a suicide vest.

They were then able to move in, rushing Tsarnaev to Beth Israel medical center for treatment, where he has remained under heavy guard. He was not wearing a vest.

It was unclear whether he was hit by a final exchange of gunfire Friday.

Tsarnaev is in the same hospital where his brother, Tamerlan, 26, was brought early Friday after a shootout with police. Tamerlan died of his wounds.

Investigators, possibly including the country's elite counterterrorism unit, are hoping that Tsarnaev survives because they are intent on determining what triggered his and his brother's alleged involvement in the attack and whether they had any help.

The bombing killed three, including a young boy, and wounded about 170. An MIT officer was allegedly killed by the duo Wednesday night and a Boston transit cop was badly wounded in a subsequent shootout.

One focus of the probe is a six-month trip Tamerlan Tsarnaev took to the semi-autonomous Russian province of Dagestan in 2012. Dagestan has become a hotbed of militant Islamic activity.

The FBI acknowledged that it had interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the request of Russian authorities, but after looking at his phone records, websites he visited and associates, the FBI found he had no ties to terror.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the suspects' mother, said her sons couldn't be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because Tamerlan had been on the FBI's radar.

"My son would never do this. It is a set up," she said. "He was controlled by FBI like for five, three, five years. They knew what my son was doing."

After Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been checked out, FBI officials said the monitoring had to stop by law because they found nothing incriminating.

"There are too many people in this country just like him that are touching extremist websites that are espousing things that aren't particularly kind to Americans. But that's not against the law here," ABC News consultant and former FBI special agent Brad Garrett said.

After a week of tragedy, terror and living on edge, the greater Boston area is finally breathing a sigh of relief.

"We got our guy and very proud of it and we want Watertown to go back to normal; we want Boston to go back to normal," Watertown Chief of Police Edward Deveau told ABC News.

At a Red Sox game on Saturday, fans filled Fenway Park with their voices, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in unison.

They applauded for law enforcement, they mourned the victims of the bombings and they showed their resilient spirit.

"We are one. We are strong. We are Boston. We are Boston strong," the announcer said to an eruption of cheers.

The Red Sox later pulled out a spirit-boosting win.

And America hasn't forgotten about David Henneberry, the man who tipped police off that Tsarnaev was hiding in his boat.

Bullets riddled the blood-stained vessel during a final volley of gunfire between Tsarnaev and law enforcement. Henneberry is being regarded as a hero, and people around the country are sending him checks to put toward a new boat.

Deborah Newberry, 62, of Orlando, Fla., told ABC News that she mailed a $25 check to Henneberry's home.

"Just listening to his coolness and how he handled the situation, it was like OK, that is a man who needs to have his boat restored," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr182013

'Cowards' Billboard Lights Up Boston Skyline in Wake of Blasts

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Less than 10 miles from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where three people were killed and more than 170 injured in dual blasts on Monday, lies a billboard with a one-word message: “Cowards.”

The billboard, located off the I-93 expressway that crosses the city, belongs to the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union. The chapter, Local 103, usually uses the billboard for union-related and community messages but that changed Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after the two bombs exploded.

Since then, the electronic billboard had rotated every 10 seconds between the “Cowards” sign and another that reads, “Pray for Boston.”

None of the union’s 7,500 members were directly hurt in the explosions, according to a representative, but they have another connection.

The town where the chapter’s headquarters is located, Dorchester, Mass., is the same town where the blasts’ youngest victim, Martin Richard, and his family lived. Richard, 8, died while attending the marathon festivities with his mother, father and two siblings. Both his mother and younger sister sustained “serious” injuries in the attacks.

Local 103 plans to keep the billboard devoted to the Boston Marathon survivors but is working on incorporating new messages, the representative told ABC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr182013

For Muslim Americans, Boston Bombings Bring Added Anxiety

Kate Fry(BOSTON) -- On Monday afternoon, as word spread that two bombs had been detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Imam Ibrahim Rahim found himself alone at Yusuf Mosque on Boston's Chesnut Hill Avenue.

First he offered a prayer for the victims. And then he quietly added: "Dear Lord, God, please whatever this yields, let it not be something that can in any way be associated with Islam."

In New York, at the same time, Daisy Khan, director of the American Society of Muslim Advancement, had a similar thought, reduced to less than 140 characters: "#ihopeitsnotamuslim."

"My first reaction was I hope it's not a Muslim. I even thought of a Twitter hashtag," said Khan, a leader in the project to build a Muslim community center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

The uncertainty around who perpetrated the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 has left many people anxious. But Muslim Americans await the identity of the perpetrator with particular dread.

"If a Muslim did this it will set the Muslim community back a decade," Khan said. "It will feed into the perception that Muslims are terrorists. Children are more likely to be bullied at school, individuals at work will be treated with suspicion by their coworkers."

Fear of association following a crime is a phenomenon known to nearly every minority in America. But given the scale of 9/11, an attack perpetrated entirely by foreigners, some American Muslims say they are particularly concerned about their faith being associated with the mass killing of innocent people.

It took Muslim American groups days to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks. Within hours of Monday's bombings, however, every major Islamic association in the United States had issued a statement offering condolences, expressing outrage, even directing people on how to donate blood.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, authorities said they were questioning a Saudi national, who had been injured in the blast. Many Muslims breathed a sigh of relief when investigators said they no longer believed the 20-year-old man was a person of interest, but they still wait with held breath for a suspect to be apprehended.

"Muslims have learned they have to speak out and speak out swiftly," said Khan. "It helps with our perception by other Americans, but it doesn't help keep us from worrying a Muslim is responsible."

Muslims in Boston were invited to participate in Thursday's interfaith service, in which President Obama is speaking, and are planning another event on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb262013

World Trade Center Bombing Remembered 20 Years Later

James Hardy/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which was overshadowed eight years later by the 9/11 attacks.

Six people died and about 1,000 were injured after terrorists detonated a truck bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center's North Tower on Feb. 26, 1993.

Four of the six killed -- Robert Kirkpatrick, 61, Stephen A. Knapp, 47, William Macko, 57, and Monica Rodriguez Smith, 35 -- were employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the buildings.  John DiGiovanni, 45, a dental-supply salesman visiting the World Trade Center, and Wilfredo Mercado, 37, a purchasing agent for Windows on the World restaurant, also died.

A moment of silence will be held for the victims on Tuesday at 12:18 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb222012

Would-Be Capitol Bomber Waives Right to Detention Hearing

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Amine El Khalifi, the 29-year-old Moroccan man charged last Friday in an FBI sting in a plot to bomb the Capitol made a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon and waived his right to a detention hearing.

The court appearance lasted only a few minutes with Khalifi not seeking bond for his release while the case proceeds.

Khalifi appeared before a federal magistrate wearing a green jumpsuit with "PRISONER" labeled on the back, as he was flanked by his defense lawyers from the Federal Defenders office.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Virginia is expected to indict Khalifi in the next 30 days after presenting the case to a federal grand jury.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb102012

Najibullah Zazi's Father Sentenced for Role in Attempted NYC Bombing

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The father of an admitted terrorist was sentenced Friday for his role in an alleged plot to blow up the New York City subway.

Mohammed Zazi was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for obstructing authorities investigating his son.  In February 2010, Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty to planning to blow up the New York City subway with homemade explosives he learned to make in Pakistan.  Investigators said his father tried to cover up the crime by destroying evidence and lying to detectives.  

The son had practiced making bombs in the Denver area before he drove to New York where he learned he was being watched by the FBI.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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