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Boston Marathon explosions

At least two explosions occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing at least three and injuring more than 170.

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(CNN) – A man shot dead by an FBI agent overnight in Orlando knew Boston bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and was followed by the FBI for days, a friend of the Florida man told CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13 on Wednesday.

The FBI told CNN an agent shot and killed a suspect “while conducting official duties” in Orlando, but did not elaborate.

Khasuen Taramov, who said he is a friend of the slain man, identified him as Ibragim Todashev, according to Central Florida News 13.

Boston Marathon Explosions

Men in hazardous materials suits investigate the scene at the first bombing site on Boylston Street in Boston. (Elise Amendola / Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2013)

Todashev knew Tsarnaev a couple years ago when Todashev lived in Boston, and the FBI began questioning and following him and Taramov after the deadly April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, Taramov told Central Florida News 13.

“(Todashev) wasn’t like real close friends (with Tsarnaev), but he just happened to know him,” Todashev told the TV station. “… But he had no idea that they were up to something like that, like bombings and everything, you know what I mean?”

BOSTON (CNN) – The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon attack indicated that the bombing was retribution for what he called U.S. attacks against Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, a law enforcement official said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made remarks about the bombing in a makeshift message found in the boat where he was captured in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home.

Tsarnaev scribbled that the Boston victims were collateral damage as Muslims have been during war and that an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all of them.

The source added that Dzhokhar told investigators mainly the same details in a bedside interrogation at a Boston hospital after his capture.

An Inside Look At Bombing SuspectsThe twin blasts at the end of the Boston Marathon on April 15 killed three and wounded more than 260 others.

One of two bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died after a gunfight with authorities four days after the bombings. After much secrecy and protest, he was buried in a rural Virginia cemetery this month.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also wrote that he would not miss his older brother Tamerlan and would be joining him soon.

Charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property causing death, Dzhokhar is being held at Federal Medical Center Devens.

SPOKANE — The iconic photo of runner Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens knocked to the ground in the Boston Marathon bombing last month was seen worldwide. On Sunday, the 78-year-old wore the same orange shirt he’d worn in Boston for the Bloomsday run in Spokane.


Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, Wash., rests in the grass after running Bloomsday in Spokane—his first race since the Boston Marathon.
(Photo: Jessica Robinson for

Iffrig still had a sore leg from falling to the pavement in Boston, KPLU reported.  His hearing hadn’t completely returned either. But Iffrig said the attack won’t stop him.

“I’m not going to let it stop me for one thing,” he told the NPR affiliate. “I don’t think it’s going to happen that much again—I certainly hope not. But no, I’m not going to let that stop me.

“It’s something I like to do … and I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can.”

Security was high for Spokane’s popular 12-kilometer run this year. Police kept everyone but runners from getting within a block of the start. Police and area security agencies were out in force. Before the start of the wheelchair division, Homeland Security agents led bomb-detection K-9 units along the start area, the Spokesman-Review reported.

A helicopter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security circled overhead, it said. But there were no incidents as about 50,000 runners enjoyed the event.


Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens is on the ground after the first explosion at the Boston Marathon Monday. He suffered only a scrape on his knee. (Photo: Boston Globe)

National & World News

New arrests in Boston Marathon bombing

 BOSTON – At least two of three additional suspects arrested Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing probe face obstruction of justice charges, a federal law enforcement source said.

Boston police announced the arrests Wednesday morning, adding that there was “no threat to the public.”

Two students from New Bedford, Massachusetts, have been arrested on charges of making false statements to investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to a federal law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

Alan Dershowitz, a prominent defense attorney and Harvard law professor, said the new charges don’t appear to be related to the bombing itself.

VK“If they knew about the bombing, if they were involved in the bombing, the charges would be conspiracy to do the acts for which the other man has already been charged,” Dershowitz told CNN. “So it sounds like at this point in time the only evidence they have is actions that took place after the bombing.”

The students are originally from Kazakhstan and were already in custody on immigration charges, according to another source with knowledge of the immigration case. The third is a U.S. citizen, the federal law enforcement source said.

The news follows more than two weeks of frantic investigation after the April 15 attack. Two bombs exploded in the crowd gathered near the finish line of the marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 260.

Federal agents already have accused two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, of carrying out the attack. Tamerlan died after a shootout with police, and Dzhokhar is in custody.

The students who now face charges went to college with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the source familiar with the immigration case said.

From CNN

bill iffrigSPOKANE — The Lake Stevens, Wash., runner that was knocked down by the blast near the Boston Marathon finish line is planning to run in this Sunday’s Bloomsday, the Spokesman Review reported.

Bill Iffrig, 78, was nearing the finish line when the first of two homemade bombs exploded, knocking him down — the explosions killed three people and injured more than 260 people. For the Bloomsday race, Iffrig will be wearing the same orange shirt that he wore during the Boston Marathon, he told the paper.

Iffrig told the Spokesman that the Bloomsday will be his 12th or 13th marathon – and admitted he’s not quite sure, saying that “it’s not a number he’s committed to memory.” He also told the paper, “what he does know is he’s won his age group seven of the past eight years, running the 12-kilometer race as fast as 53:20, his best time in the past decade.”

Iffrig told the paper that while he has run in hundreds of races, “Bloomsday is absolutely one of the best. It’s so well-organized. That makes it special.” he said.

But as far as returning to Boston to run in the city’s annual marathon, Iffrig doesn’t think he’ll make the trip.

“I’ll be 79 next year. I’ve been there, and I don’t need to run that race again,” he told the Spokesman.

BOSTON — Three additional suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing have been taken into custody, Boston police said Wednesday.


Photo courtesy of WPIX11

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been accused of carrying out the attack. Tamerlan died after a shootout with police, and Dzhokhar is in custody. The three detained Wednesday allegedly helped Tamerlan after the bombing and were his friends at the University of Massachusetts.

The April 15 attack killed three people and wounded dozens more.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

(CNN) — The surviving suspect in the Boston bombings has told investigators that he and his brother planned to bomb Times Square, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.

“Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets,” Bloomberg said.

bombing suspect1

Photo released by FBI

The two came up with the plan spontaneously after the Boston bombing, as the talked in a car they hijacked, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev initially told investigators that he and his brother had talked about going to New York to “party,” but after further questioning he revealed that they planned to use remaining explosives there, Kelly announced.

Sources: No gun found in boat

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apparently was unarmed when he was wounded in a barrage of gunfire that ended with his capture after a tense standoff, sources told CNN Thursday.

No firearm was found in the boat where he was hiding, in the yard of a home in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Massachusetts, said several sources familiar with the investigation, from different agencies.


For the complete CNN story, go here.

Boston Marathon Explosions

Men in hazardous materials suits investigate the scene at the first bombing site on Boylston Street in Boston. (Elise Amendola / Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2013)

WASHINGTON — Investigators believe that the two homemade bombs used in the Boston Marathon blasts were triggered by long-range remote controls for toy cars.

A joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin sent to state and local law enforcement Tuesday night said the bombs likely included components taken from remote-controlled toy cars, and were more sophisticated than previously believed.

After combing the blast sites on Boylston Street for evidence, investigators have finished a preliminary reconstruction of the bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260 runners and bystanders near the finish line of the Patriots Day race on April 15.

“Based on preliminary analysis of recovered evidence, each device likely incorporated an electrical fusing system using components from remote control toy cars such as a transmitter and receiver pair operating at 2.4 GHz, an electronic speed control used as the switch mechanism and sub-C rechargeable battery packs at the power source,” read the bulletin, according to an official.

Both pressure cooker bombs used a low explosive mixture that incorporated nitrate and perchlorate-based oxidizers, the bulletin said. Investigators don’t know if the explosive was purchased that way or was mixed from different sources. The shrapnel included BBs and carpenter nails.

From the LA Times

By Richard A. Serrano, Melanie Mason

and Ken Dilanian

Los Angeles Times

BOSTON — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators that he and his older brother planned the Boston Marathon bombings only a week or so before the race, that they were operating alone, and that they received no training or support from outside terrorist groups, officials said Tuesday.

His comments appear to support investigators’ theory that the attack was hastily conceived by two siblings who were self-radicalized.

An Inside Look At Bombing SuspectsWriting answers from his hospital bed because he was shot in the throat, the 19-year-old accused bomber also said that his slain older brother, Tamerlan, was “upset” by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that anger was the motivation to plant two crude homemade bombs along the crowded race route.

A U.S. counter-terrorism official said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev mentioned the wars “as a general justification for what he did”; a law enforcement official said he did not seem as bothered about America’s role in the Muslim world. The law enforcement official said authorities were developing a clearer picture from the suspect’s responses and from records of Internet activity that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the driving force behind the April 15 bombings.

Fresh details about the grisly plot emerged on a grim, wind-swept day of funerals for 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest of the three people killed in the blasts, and for 26-year-old Sean Collier, an MIT security officer shot to death during the manhunt that ensued.

The Boston Public Health Commission said 264 runners and bystanders were treated for injuries related to the bombings, more than previously known, as people continued to trickle into emergency rooms. About 51 remain in hospitals.

A team of law enforcement and intelligence agents from the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group questioned Tsarnaev before a federal magistrate opened a hearing at his bedside Monday and informed him of his constitutional right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. He faces federal criminal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction, and if convicted could face the death penalty.

During the questioning before he was formally charged, Tsarnaev said he and his brother did not practice detonating the pressure-cooker bombs, according to a U.S. official who has been briefed on the interrogation and who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Officials said no evidence had emerged to indicate the brothers had co-conspirators, and despite U.S. fears of foreign involvement, investigators have tentatively concluded that Tamerlan did not meet with Islamist militants or attend a training camp during a visit to Russia last year. That trip was his only known foreign travel as an adult.

A law enforcement official said investigators believed the Tsarnaevs built their bombs after consulting a how-to guide in Inspire, an online magazine published by the Al Qaeda franchise in Yemen. In a 2010 article, the English-language magazine urged would-be terrorists to build a crude bomb using a pressure cooker, gunpowder from shotgun shells or fireworks, and other easily obtainable items.

Investigators say they have confirmed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev purchased fireworks in southern New Hampshire, just over the Massachusetts state line, earlier this spring. On Feb. 6, they say, he walked into the Phantom Fireworks store in Seabrook, N.H., and asked the clerk, “What is the most powerful item you have?”

The president of Phantom Fireworks, Bruce Zoldan, said in a telephone interview that the clerk behind the counter that day, Megan Kearns, told investigators that she remembered Tsarnaev’s comment because most customers buy an assortment of fireworks, but he only wanted the biggest sets they sold.

He paid more than $400 in cash for two “Lock and Load” reloadable mortar kits, each with four tubes and 24 shells, Zoldan said. Each shell can fly more than 100 feet into the air and explode in a colorful and noisy light display. The store records the name and driver’s license number of each customer, Zoldan said. That was how the company linked the purchase to Tamerlan Tsarnaev after the FBI asked about the two brothers last Friday.

The shells Tsarnaev purchased would hold 1.5 pounds of gunpowder, but it’s unclear whether the explosive was used in the marathon bombings.

“It certainly appears as if the bomb design is consistent with that described in Inspire, but there may be other online sources,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Burbank, who attended a House briefing on the case. “Plainly, a significant part of the radicalization took place online.”

Amid questions about whether U.S. intelligence or law enforcement agencies missed possible warning signs, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appeared on Capitol Hill and defended her agency’s handling of the case.

The FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev at his home after Russian authorities warned in early 2011 that he might have ties to radical groups, and the FBI subsequently placed an immigration alert on his name.

He traveled to the Russian republic of Dagestan in early 2012, but the alert was not triggered because the airline misspelled his name on the manifest. By the time he returned six months later, the one-year FBI alert had expired and he was not flagged for additional screening, Napolitano said.

“By the time he returned, all investigations had been — the matter had been closed,” Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee.  She said she would provide additional details in a classified hearing later this week.

The FBI said it had found no evidence to back up Russia’s warnings about Tsarnaev, and on Tuesday officials pointed fingers at Russian authorities for not answering their follow-up questions at the time.