NOT OVER YET: 'We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone'
FBI fears that the Tsarnaev brothers were trained by 12-member sleeper cell
With the capture of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the death of 26-year-old brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the nation wants to breathe easier after the national tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing and put it all behind them. Not so fast, the federal Bureau of Investigation says - there's every reason to believe that a 12-member "sleeper cell," suspected of training the brothers in their deadly mission is still at large.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old brother believed to be the main force in the Boston Marathon bombing, was by all reports a very popular college student. "I don't have a single American friend," he was known to quip.
"They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come."
To date, a man and two women 60 miles from Boston were arrested by FBI agents in the hours before Dzhokhar's capture after a bloody shootout on Friday.
Stepping up the investigation, a specialist team of CIA and FBI interrogators were flown to a Boston hospital to grill wounded Dzhokhar about the secret group. Caught after hiding out in a boat parked in a garden in locked-down Watertown, Dzhokhar is said to have run his brother over as he escaped in a stolen car while Tamerlan lay handcuffed on the ground. The brothers were carrying six bombs with them at the time - three of which exploded - as well as a handgun and rifle.
The wounded Dzhokhar remains handcuffed to his hospital bed under armed guard. The other three suspects arrested in the port of New Bedford are also believed to be of college age.
A bizarre detail that has emerged in the investigation after the bombing was the fact that Dzhokhar went to a college party two days after the bombs wreaked havoc at the finish line. Dzhokhar reportedly "looked relaxed" as he joined in a party at the campus on Wednesday night. A few hours later, Dzhokhar was involved in the shootout that cost his brother his life.
Investigators are now piecing together on how the "well-mannered" brothers of Chechen origin were radicalized. According to friends and family, the elder brother Tamerlan had recently become obsessed with Islam. He mysteriously left the U.S. in January last year to spend six months in Russia.
It also emerged the Bureau interviewed Tamerlan two years ago, at the request of the Russian government, but could not establish that he had ties to terrorist radicals. "It's a key thread for investigators," Senior FBI counter-terrorism official Kevin Brock says.
An especially worrying Internet clue was Tamerlan's Russian-language YouTube page that featured links to extremist Islamic sites. It has since been pulled down.
The brothers' mother, Zubeidat, speaking from Russia, said she claimed the boys had been framed by the FBI over the two bombs last Monday that left three dead and 178 injured.
She claimed the FBI had been keeping watch on her eldest boy for up to five years. She said: "They knew what my son was doing. They knew what sites on the internet he was going to.
"They were telling me that he was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites. They were controlling him."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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