Written by Matthew Harper. DM by Bobby Williams.
As Boston moves forward with their recovery after the horrific attack on the Boston Marathon last month and the ensuing chaos in Watertown, new questions about who was involved and what motivated the attack have become the focus over the last few days.
It came to light on Thursday, May 2, that the Tsarnaev brothers had not intended to attack the Boston Marathon initially. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger and surviving brother, informed investigators that the initial plan had been to strike the 4th of July celebrations on the Charles River Esplanade (Reuters). When the brothers completed constructing their homemade bombs earlier than anticipated, they decided to commit their horrifying terrorist attack at the marathon.
BBC News says that the brothers had listened to “internet sermons” by Anwar al-Awlaki, a former United States citizen turned al-Qaeda member who was eliminated via drone strike in 2011, and that they had initially thought about committing their act via suicide bombings, although they at some point changed their minds. There are no known ties between the Tsarnaevs and any foreign radicals that officials have discovered yet, but that is a key focus of the investigation as it continues. Any connection to a known terrorist would give further insight into how and why the brothers became radicalized.
The widow of older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a woman named Katherine Russell, has reportedly been living with her parents in Rhode Island since the attacks. The FBI searched her parents’ home last week and removed DNA samples and other evidence to see if Russell has any connection to the bombings. It is known that the bombs used by the brothers were made in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s home, as the FBI had already found the bomb materials and Dzhokhar informed them that he and his brother had crafted their bombs there.
Additionally, three friends of Dzhokhar were arrested and brought to court on May 1 in connection with the attacks. According to the Boston Police, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamet Tazhayakov, who attended college with Dzhokhar, threw away the suspect’s backpack when they realized that their friend was one of the bombers. The other man arrested was Robel Phillips, who was picked up for lying to investigators concerning the attack and what he knew. It’s believed that the pressure being put on the three arrested men, who have all been charged, is intended to show Katherine Russell that the authorities aren’t messing around and want to know what, if anything, she knows about her husband’s awful actions (Fox News).