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May 03, 2013

Boston Bombing Suspects Planned July 4 Attack

by VOA News

Boston law enforcement officials say Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that he and his brother Tamerlan originally considered suicide bombings, and planning attacks on July 4 - the United States' Independence Day.

Officials say Dzhokhar told them the brothers moved up their attack plans because they finished building their homemade bombs sooner than expected.

Both April 15 and July 4 are the dates of large patriotic celebrations in the city of Boston.

The New York Times reported that the suspect also told authorities that he and his brother viewed online videos of the sermons of radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in September 2011 by a U.S. drone strike. There was no indication that the brothers communicated directly with Awlaki.

On Thursday, Boston officials said a funeral home picked up the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev on behalf of his family. There were no details on where the body was taken or his exact cause of death.

Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout three days after he and his younger brother allegedly set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line. The blasts killed three and wounded 264. Dzhokhar was captured and is in a prison hospital.

Kazakhstan says it is cooperating with U.S. authorities after two Kazakh nationals were arrested for allegedly obstructing the bombing investigation. The Foreign Ministry statement says Kazakhstan condemns any form of terrorism.

U.S. federal agents arrested the two Kazakhs and an American for allegedly helping Dzhokhar Tsarnaev destroy evidence. They are not accused of direct involvement in the bombing itself. The three attended a university with Dzhokhar.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.