The 21st Century Phenomenon


On Monday 04/15/2013, at about 14:50 local time, close to the finish line of the annually Boston marathon in the Northern side of Boylston Street, two bombs exploded within few seconds, 50 to 100 meters apart, killing a 8 years old boy and two others. Some 176 people sought treatment at area hospitals, some of them gravely wounded, local Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. According to medical sources in Boston they were casualties of shattered glass, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, 17 of them were critically wounded with multi impacts. Massachusetts General Hospital’s chief of trauma surgery said the next day doctors removed “a variety of sharp objects,” including pellets and nails, from the wounds of victims of the Boston Marathon explosions.


Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick later said the two bombs were the only explosive devices found in the area. 


The bombs themselves are of interest. They were made using large 6 liter pressure cookers as containers and filled with nuts, metal shards, bolts and nails bearings designed to act as shrapnel and maximize casualties. These types of bombs in similar containers have been used before in Afghanistan, Iraq and India, in the 2006 Mumbai Trains Bombing. Furthermore – one of the three bombs used in the attempted May 2010 Times Square Plot was a pressure cooker. A recipe for these bombs appeared in the Al Qaeda magazine INSPIRE MAGAZINE’ (see – Inspire-Recipes). Experts believe the explosions were timed by timers. The explosives were made of pressure cookers packed with gunpowder and shrapnel and may have been inside heavy black nylon bags, law enforcement sources said. 


A Saudi national suspect was detained in the scene. The 20-year-old suspect is under police guard in hospital, where he is being treated for burns and shrapnel wounds to his legs, after he was tackled to the ground by a civilian who believed he was acting suspiciously. The police and FBI agents, including the FBI and bomb disposal officers, swooped on his apartment in the suburbs of the city, at 364 Ocean Avenue on the fifth floor of the building, later on the day. The ‘person of interest’ is in Boston attending an English language school in greater Boston. The Saudi ‘person of interest’ has now been identified as Abdul-Rahman Ali al-Harbi, who was living in an apartment with two Saudi roommates in Revere, near Boston. But FBI said, on 04/17/2013, that Abdul-Rahman Ali al-Harbi is ‘no longer a person of interest’ or a suspect in the case. 


Police had said earlier on Monday that they were searching for a ‘dark-skinned or black male’ wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and a backpack in connection with the twin explosions.Five minutes before the first explosion, officials said the hooded man attempted to gain entry to a restricted area but was turned away. Authorities say he may be a foreign national, based on his accent.


* The Pakistani Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taleban, which has threatened attacks in the United States because of its support for the Pakistani government, denied any role in the marathon bombings Tuesday 04/16/2013. 

* The head of an extremist Jordanian Muslim Salafi group Mohammad Ahmad al-Chalabi said on Tuesday that he was ‘happy to see the horror in America’ after the explosions in Boston. ‘American blood isn’t more precious than Muslim blood,’ said Mohammad al-Chalabi, who was convicted in an al Qaeda-linked plot to attack USA and other Western diplomatic missions in Jordan in 2003. 

* The FBI and Boston police distributed, on Thursday 04/18/2013, through the media the photos and short video footages of what they believe are the two main suspects in the bombings based on the heavy bags they carried with them identical to the bags in which the bombs were carried. 

With a bomb strapped to his chest, one of the Boston Marathon suspects (no-1), identified later by the authorities as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed early Friday 04/19/2013 after he and his accomplice robbed a 7-Eleven, shot a police officer to death, carjacked an SUV and hurled explosives out the window in an extraordinary firefight with law enforcement, authorities said. The second suspect (no-2), identified later by the authorities as Tamerlan’s brother – Djokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the one in the white hat in photos released by the FBI, was on the loose, and police ordered people in the Boston suburb of Watertown to stay in their homes and businesses not to open. Boston shut down its buses and subway system for the hunt. The chaotic sequence of events started six hours after the FBI triggered a nationwide manhunt by releasing photos of the suspects, believed responsible for detonating two bombs at the marathon finish line Monday. 

Two law enforcement officials told NBC News that both men had international ties, had been in the United States about a year and had military experience. 

The suspect at large Djokhar Tsarnaev (2) was described by authorities as light-skinned and with brown, curly hair, and wearing a gray hoodie. 

Police shut a 4-mile stretch of streets between Cambridge, Mass., and Watertown because they could be littered with unexploded devices, and they locked down Watertown. Harvard University, Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston public schools all closed. Emerson University closed and told students to stay where they were. 

Andrew Kitzenberg, who lives in Watertown, said he saw the two men shooting at six police cars from 70 or 80 yards away. 

Investigators believe at least one of the two bombs that exploded at the marathon finish line was housed in an ordinary kitchen pressure cooker. 

The Middlesex district attorney’s office said in a statement that the event began as police responded to reports of an armed carjacking by two males who held a victim at gunpoint for half an hour before being released uninjured. 
According to police sources in Boston the two suspects were brothers who immigrated to USA about a decade ago from Dagestan, on the Caspian sea, neighboring Chechnya in the Russian Caucasus and are from Chechen origin.

Djokhar Tsarnaev was found eventually, on the early hours of Saturday 04/20/2013, hiding in a boat in a suburban homeowner’s backyard. He was severely wounded, probably in the same shootout in which his brother was shot and killed.




* A group leading an Islamist insurgency against Russia said, on Sunday 04/21/2013, it was not at war with the United States, distancing itself from last week’s Boston bombing. A statement from militants operating in Dagestan, where the brothers spent time as children, said the leading insurgency group Caucasus Emirate, led by Russia’s most wanted man Doku Umarov, was not attacking the United States. “We are fighting with Russia, which is responsible not only for the occupation of the Caucasus but for monstrous crimes against Muslims,” the statement said. 


* A preliminary examination of the cellphones and computers used by the Tsarnaev brothers has found no indication of an accomplice in the Boston Marathon bombing, according to a U.S. counter-terrorism source briefed on the FBI investigation, on 04/23/2013. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has also told investigators that he and his brother got instructions on building bombs from an online magazine published by al Qaeda referring to Inspire (see also – Inspire-5 ). 


* Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, has said, on Thursday 04/25/2013, that the Boston Marathon bombing suspects intended to blow up their remaining explosives in Times Square. Speaking at a joint press conference on Thursday with Police Commissioner Raymon Kelly, Bloomberg said that the Tsarnaev brothers had a pressure cooker bomb and five pipe bombs they intended to set off (see also – Times-Square plot investigation). 



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