Did a foreign hand guide Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev?
US investigators are interested in a trip that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother suspected in the Boston bombing, took to the North Caucasus region of Russia in 2012. They want to know whether he had contact with foreign extremist groups.
As more information emerges on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of two Chechen immigrant brothers accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings, the clearer the picture becomes of a radicalized Muslim whose shallow-rooted ideology was fed by a deepening hatred of US counterterrorist policy in Muslim countries.Skip to next paragraph
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Less clear is where that radicalization – and the germination of the bombing plot – occurred. Federal investigators want to know if Mr. Tsarnaev, killed early Friday in a shootout with police, was essentially a home-grown terrorist, or if the 26-year-old received any training and direction from foreign extremist groups – in particular during a six-month trip to his native North Caucasus region of Russia last year.
Russia seems likely to cooperate with US authorities on the Tsarnaev investigation, some regional experts say, especially because the threat of Islamist extremism and terrorism is a concern the Russians have long emphasized in their dealings with the US and on a variety of issues – from human rights abuses to the war in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent President Obama his condolences over the Boston bombings even before the Tsarnaev brothers emerged as suspects.
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Still, some analysts wonder if a recent row between the two countries over human rights abuses and what Russia interpreted as US interference in Russia’s domestic affairs suggest that lingering suspicions could hamper cooperation on the bombing case.
The FBI declined to discuss any plans to investigate with Russian authorities Tamerlan’s 2012 trip to Russia or other places he visited. But one US official noted that the FBI has a legal attaché in Moscow and one in Kiev, Ukraine, and that one could “safely assume” the investigation is already under way.
The younger Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar, was formally charged Monday with use of a "weapon of mass destruction," specifically an improvised explosive device, resulting in death.
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