'Boston bomber wanted to join anti-Israel group'

US Congressman says Tsarnaev wanted to go to Gaza, but did not speak Arabic, so he joined Chechen rebels in Dagestan.

June 5, 2013 04:33
1 minute read.
Suspects wanted for questioning in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing seen in handout photo.

Boston suspects 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/FBI/Handout)

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev sought to join an anti-Israel movement in the Gaza Strip, but opted instead to join Chechen rebels in Dagestan because he did not speak Arabic, a US Congressman told Washington-based newspaper, The Hill on Tuesday.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) returned to the US on Monday from a congressional fact-finding mission in Russia. The delegation of six US lawmakers met with the heads of Russia's security and intelligence community in hopes of determining why the US failed to stop the April terror attack despite Russia having warned the FBI that Tsarnaev was a potential threat.

“It’s tough, I don’t know if they dropped the ball or we dropped the ball, but hopefully we’ll work together better going forward,” Cohen told The Hill.

US investigators suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was shot dead by police, and his brother Dzhokhar, who is awaiting trial in Massachusetts, staged the attack at the Boston Marathon on April 15 that killed three people and wounded 264 others.

Reading from notes from a briefing with Russian intelligence officials, Republican Representative Steve King said Monday that they indicated Russia had told the FBI that Tamerlan was "very close to radical Islam and very religious."

"I suspect that he was raised to do what he did," King said of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev travelled to Russia early in 2012 and spent six months in Dagestan, a North Caucasus province that is now at the center of the Islamist insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet separatist wars in neighboring Chechnya.

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