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Deadly details

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are pictured in this combination photoBOSTON/WASHINGTON — The two brothers suspected of carrying out the deadly attacks on the Boston Marathon had originally planned to set off their bombs on July 4, a law enforcement official said.

The official said the suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, advanced the date of their attack because they completed building bombs more quickly then they originally anticipated. The official declined to be identified and did not offer more details.

Police say the brothers detonated two bombs made with pressure-cookers in the April 15 attack on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264.

An attack on Boston’s packed July 4 celebrations would have carried the extra symbolism of disrupting the city’s widely followed Independence Day celebrations.

Citing unnamed officials, The Boston Globe reported on its website that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother who was captured by police four days after the bombing, told investigators the pair discussed detonating their explosives at the city’s famed celebration on its Charles River Esplanade.

News of the alleged July 4 attack plan and other details supplied by Tsarnaev to investigators was earlier reported by The New York Times and other media outlets.

Homemade devices

NBC News, also citing unnamed officials, reported Tsarnaev told investigators the bombs were made in the home of his brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police early on April 19.

The Times reported the ethnic Chechen brothers also considered suicide attacks and that they had viewed online sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical US-born cleric who was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen in 2011. There is no indication the brothers communicated with Awlaki, however, the newspaper reported on its website.

What, if any, ties the two suspects had with foreign militants is a key question for investigators trying to determine how the pair became radicalised. How they selected their target would also shed light on their mindset. (Reuters)

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