Boston Marathon Bombers Originally Planned July 4 Attack, Reports Say

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's cause of death will be released soon; Dzhokhar reportedly claimed al-Awlaki inspiration.


The Tsarnaev brothers reportedly wanted to mark July 4, 2013, with a bang as 'bombs' were bursting in air.

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Surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators he and his older brother Tamerlan initially planned to set off bombs during July 4 celebrations, according to multiple news reports.

"They built the bombs so fast that they decided to move the whole plan up," an unnamed source told the Boston Globe. "They surveyed these police stations, multiple stations in Boston and one in Cambridge" before deciding on the marathon's finish line, the source told the Globe.

A second unnamed source confirmed to the Globe that the original plan was to attack Independence Day events on the Charles River Esplanade.

Pete Williams of NBC News reported that Tsarnaev first disclosed the July 4 plan to investigators on the weekend after his April 19 arrest, according to sources. The New York Times dates the admission to April 21, citing two unnamed sources, as Tsarnaev was questioned by the FBI in a hospital without being read his Miranda rights.

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According to The Times, Tsarnaev said the bombs were made at his brother's apartment. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died the night before his brother's capture after a gun battle with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly drove over his handcuffed brother with a car as he fled the gun fight. It's unclear if the older bombing suspect died from gunshot wounds or by being crushed by the car.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body was released to a funeral home in North Attleborough, Mass., Thursday. Kheda Saratova, identified as a human rights worker, told the Globe the suspect's two sisters and uncle Ruslan Tsarni claimed the body. NBC reported it could not confirm the identify of the claimant(s).

A cause of death will be released when the funeral home files a death certificate. Saratova told The Globe that the family will seek a second coroner's opinion because "[t]he family is afraid that if Tamerlan is buried before they get all the answers, many secrets will be buried with him, and this will make it harder for Dzhokhar to defend himself in court."

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During his hospital interrogation Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said the two suspects watched Internet sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen associated with al-Qaida who was killed in 2011 by a targeted CIA drone attack in Yemen, according to The Times. Al-Awlaki allegedly incited other acts of terrorism, including the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the 2009 Detroit "underwear bomber" plot to down an airplane and the failed 2010 Times Square car bomb plot.

The Globe reported that a lawyer for Dias Kadyrbayev, one of three 19-year-old college classmates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged Wednesday with dumping a since-recovered backpack containing emptied fireworks casings and lying, gave the laptop computer belonging to Tsarnaev, which he took from the suspect's room, to the FBI during his first FBI interview on April 19.

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