The Boston Marathon bombers – revealed to be brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – continued their terror-filled rampage late Thursday night as shots and explosions reverberate through the otherwise quiet city.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 – the FBI’s No. 1 Suspect (black hat) - is now confirmed dead after a dramatic firefight with police that took place nearby Watertown, Mass. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, Suspect No. 2, is on the run from law enforcement amid a city-wide lock-down in the Boston area.
Much of what is known about the Tsarnaev brothers is still unclear and their motivation remains a mystery.
Here is what we have discovered of the deceased bombing suspect so far:
1. Tamerlan Tsarnaev Traveled to Russia Through NYC Last Year
According to reports by CBS, the bombing suspect flew in and out of John F. Kennedy Airport last year and was out of the country for six months. Investigators want to know if he participated in terror training while he was overseas.
According to and Fox News interview with former CIA intelligence officer Michael Scheuer:
“Looking at the operations two people could have carried it out but there must have been some kind of training…the bombs looked professionally made…I could be completely wrong…this gentleman was in Russia for 6 months last year and could have received that training”
Tsarnaev is believed to have stayed in Sheremetyevo, Russia. His father has said that his son was with him at all times.
Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has stated:
“What I’m very concerned about is that when he went over there, he very well may have been radicalized and trained by these Chechen rebels, who are the fiercest jihad warriors.”
2. He was an Islamist Who May Have Been Radicalized
He considered himself a devout Muslim who did not drink alcohol or smoke. In interviews carried out for a photo essay, put together before the boxer competed at National Golden Gloves competition in Salt Lake City, Tamerlan stated: “I’m very religious.” He also revealed that he felt there were “no values” in society anymore.
According to sources, Tamerlan is believed to have became more focused on his religion in 2009.
The bomb suspects’ uncle Ruslan Tasarni, said that if this was an attack fueled by religious extremism, the Tsarnaev brothers must have been indoctrinated outside of the family. In an interview with reporters outside his home in Maryland, Tasarni stated that, the boys’ extremism was “not taught my brother” and believes that Tsarnaev’s radicalization started at a local mosque in Cambridge and not in Chechnya. He also said his nephews “deserve to die” for what they did.
According to the Guardian, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was kicked out of his Cambridge mosque after a “rage filled rant” against Martin Luther King three months ago. One of the members of the congregation told reporters that the dramatic confrontation between Tamerlan and his iman evolved into a ‘shouting match’. The iman had offered Martin Luther King as an example of a man to emulate – but this reportedly enraged Tamerlan as King was “not a Muslim!”
Tamerlan’s YouTube Channel (featured below) sheds light on his potential extremist inclinations.
3. He had a YouTube channel Dedicated to Terrorist-style Videos.
Soon after Tamerlan Tsanaev returned from his 6 months trip to Russia, he opened a YouTube account.
The videos on the YouTube Channel believed to belong to Tamerlan Tsarnaev suggest a man who was deeply pious, but held a stern view of his own faith.
Many of the videos on his channel have since been deleted. His playlists include one titled “Islam” and another one titled “Terrorists”. The video above is an example of what was linked to his page. This particular video features a Islamist group called “The Black Flags from Khorsasan”; a religious group that support key parts of jihadist mythology. According to The Weekly Standard, “Mentions of the Khorasan have begun to increase in al Qaeda’s propaganda.”
This does not make the brothers al Qaeda operatives but does increase the likelihood that Tamerlan Tasarnaev (if this is indeed his YouTube page) was at least sympathetic to the same underlying ideology.
Although videos on Tsarvaev’s “terrorist” playlist had been deleted, analysis by CNN and the SITE Intelligence Institute uncovered a screen grab from one of the videos. It features members of the group Imarat Kavkaz — identifiable by the logo on their shirts. Imarat Kavkaz is the most potent militant Islamist group in the north Caucasus — which includes Chechnya and Dagestan.
Tsarnaev also appears to have posted and then removed a video of a militant named Abu Dujana, a jihadist leader who was later killed by Russian troops.
4. He is Ethnically Chechnyan and Moved to the US in 2003 as a Refugee.
According to CNN, Tamerlan was born in 1986 from an ethnically Chechen family in Kyrgyzstan. In 2002 his parents immigrated to the United States, leaving Tamerlan in Kazakhstan with an uncle, said a relative in Canada to reporters this week. In July 2003, 16-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev moves to the United States. The Tsarnaev family were all granted refugee status and settled in Cambridge.
At the time of his death,Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s citizenship application was pending
Tamerlan stated in an interview for a report by photographer Johannes Hirn, after a boxing win:
“I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.”
The fact that the Tsarnaev brothers were ethically from Chechnya may have caught some by surprise After all, Chechnyan rebels are known for their long-running campaign to break away from Russia but not for terrorists who target the United States.
According to Fox News, researchers and foreign policy analyst have tracked a connection between the Chechnya region and Islamic extremists sympathizing with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“The Chechen jihadi network is very extensive,” Middle East analyst Walid Phares said to Fox News on Friday. “They have a huge network inside Russia and Chechnya.”
Having said that, according to Politico.com one official has stated that there are no known ties at this point to Chechen extremist groups.
“I ask forgiveness for these people….he put a shame on the Tasarni family house….and the entire Chechen ethnicity…they put that shame on the entire ethnicity.” said Tsarnaev’s uncle during a interview with press this early last week.
5. He was a Former Boxing Prodigy
He was a junior boxer who one day dreamed of representing the US at the Olympics. Tsarnaev trained at a gym in Boston, Massachusetts called Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts Center. He would have represented Chechnya, but seeing as it’s not an independent county he chose the US.
Coach John Curran, who has not talked to the bombing suspect since 2010, told NBC news that Tamerlan was a gifted athlete who played piano, spoke 3 languages and had a European boxing style.
Curran said he was “really put together and a very good boxer.”
6. He Attended Community College
He was a part-time accounting student at Bunker Hill Community College before he dropped out. College officials report that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been there for three semesters: fall 2006, spring 2007 and fall 2008. Many reports say he wanted to become an engineer.
7. Russia Asked FBI to Investigate Tsarnaev’s Activities
A senior U.S official has revealed that Tsarnaev came up on the FBI’s radar sometime in 2011:
“The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”
After interviewing Tsarnaev and family members, the FBI says it “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government.”
8. Charged for Assaulting Girlfriend
In a photo album and interview project titled “Will Box For Passport” carried out by photographer Johannes Hirn – Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a picture taken with his then girlfriend. On one caption he explains that girlfriend is half Portuguese, half Italian and that she converted to Islam for him: “She’s beautiful, man!”.
Cambridge Police Department records indicate that in 2009 Tsarnaev was reportedly arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and was charged with domestic abuse and battering
Tsarnaev later married Katherine Russell, a former Suffolk University student from North Kingstown, R.I. According to Mrs Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s lawyer, Amato Deluca, his wife did not suspect her husband of anything. She had apparently been working 70 to 80 hours, seven days a week as a home health care aide. While she was at work, her husband cared for their toddler daughter.
According to the Daily News, college roommates of Katherine Russell describe the deceased bomber as as a “brutish, manipulative boyfriend who often hurled insults — and more — “at the woman he would eventually marry. The Daily Mail reports Tamerlan used to call his wife “slut” and “prostitute” in front of her friends.
9. He Died in a Gunfight With Police
Tamerlan was shot and taken to hospital where he later died. The cause of death was given as multiple gunshot wounds and “extreme blast trauma” thought to have been caused by the explosive he was carrying. Reports have also stated that younger brother Dzhokhar, who is still at large, ran over Tamerlan when escaping from police.
— Paula Ebben (@PaulaEbbenWBZ) April 19, 2013
Gruesome pictures of his mutilated body have been circulating around the internet. WARNING: EXTREMELY EXPLICIT PHOTO. CLICK HERE TO SEE TAMERLAN TSARNAEV’S BODY.
In an phone interview with RT (featured above), the mother of the Tsarnaev brother’s stated, “I am really sure…I am 100% sure this is a set-up. My two sons are really innocent…Nobody talked about the terrorism….My son got involved into religious politics 5 years ago…he never told me he would be on the side of Jihad.” The suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, has also stated that he believes his children were, “framed”.
An aunt of the Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, Maret Tsarnaev, defended the men on CNN and said she was “suspicious that this was staged”.
The sister of the bombing suspects has said, “I have no idea what has gotten into them.”
When asked what could have triggered Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s violent attack, his boxing couch John Curran responded, “I can’t possibly think of what happened… he was very put together….His brother was an introvert and he was an extrovert.”
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