Boston bomb suspects also wanted to a...

Boston bomb suspects also wanted to attack New York: officials

Posted in the Columbus Forum

Oliver Canterberry

Chillicothe, OH

#1 Apr 26, 2013

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters)- The two men suspected of carrying out last week's deadly Boston Marathon bombing decided after authorities identified them to drive to Manhattan and set off additional explosives in Times Square, New York City officials said on Thursday.

Their plan unraveled only when they realized that a Mercedes sport utility vehicle they had hijacked on April 18, three days after the bombing, did not have enough gasoline for the journey, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

New York has been on heightened alert since the September 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center. Officials said the Tsarnaev brothers' alleged impromptu plan showed America's most populous city remained a magnet for those who want to strike at the United States.

Times Square was the target of an attempted car bombing in May 2010. A Pakistan-born U.S. citizen was arrested, admitted to the plot and is serving a life prison term.

In the sharpest criticism of President Barack Obama's security policies since the blasts, a Senate Republican said the Boston bombing attack - which killed three people and injured 264 others, illustrated a "broken" national security system.

Kelly said investigators learned of the alleged Times Square plan while questioning the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in his hospital bed in Boston. Tsarnaev has been recovering from his wounds there since being captured on Friday night after an all-day manhunt that shut down much of Boston.

"Questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target," Kelly told a news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "They would drive to Times Square that same night.

"That plan, however, fell apart when they realized that the vehicle that they hijacked was low on gas and ordered the driver to stop at a nearby gas station," Kelly said.

At the time, the men still had six explosive devices, including a pressure-cooker bomb of the type used at the marathon and six pipe bombs, he said.

When they stopped to fill up the vehicle, the driver of the car escaped, Kelly said. The driver alerted authorities and sparked a late-night car chase across the university town of Cambridge, where police said the brothers shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer.

Earlier on April 18, the FBI identified the ethnic Chechen brothers as suspects in the Boston bombing, releasing pictures and video of them at the scene.

The chase ended in an extended gun battle in suburban Watertown in which authorities said the suspects threw improvised explosives at police. The older suspect, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot and died of his wounds.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured the next night in Watertown, hiding in a boat parked in the backyard of a house. He was formally charged on Monday in the hospital with crimes that could carry the death penalty.

His lawyer, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on Thursday on whether her client was still talking with investigators.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which is responsible for holding and transporting suspects outside of prison, declined to comment on whether or when he might be moved from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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