Russia's Islamist insurgency says not at war with US

April 21, 2013 18:07

MOSCOW - A group leading an Islamist insurgency against Russia said on Sunday that it was not at war with the United States, distancing itself from last week's Boston Marathon bombing.

Ethnic Chechen Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a gunfight with police following a manhunt that shut down Boston on Friday, and his younger brother Djokhar, 19, are suspected of carrying out the attack last week.

A trip the elder Tsarnaev made last year to Russia's volatile North Caucasus has aroused suspicions he might have made contact with militant groups that wage daily violence to establish an Islamist state there.

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.

The insurgency is rooted in two separatist wars Russian troops waged against Chechen separatists following the fall of the Soviet Union.

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